University Children’s Center and Orfalea Family Children’s Center will conclude their weeklong silent auction to raise money for the centers at 4 p.m. in the Student Resource Building.
The Children’s Center Parent Council hosted the “Rock n’ Raffle” this week and will use the funds for educational activities including music and art projects, hands-on science experiments and outdoor teaching programs. The auction features items such as vacation getaways, wine packages, classroom projects and a basketball autographed by Los Angeles Lakers’ power forward Pau Gasol.
According to third-year linguistics major Erin Strand, the benefit provides children with resources that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
“The auction is a really important because it helps to generate money for nontraditional activities so that the children have an opportunity to learn hands-on about everything from culture to cooking to gardening,” Strand said.
The event is part of a year-end potluck celebration for all families featuring ethnically diverse foods. Children’s Center Director Leslie Voss said the festivity unites community members involved in the program.
“The year end celebration and auction bring families together from both locations of the Children’s Center, and it is heartwarming to see everyone celebrating the hard work and dedication to an enriched early childhood education that the center offers,” said Voss. “Even though the items at the auction are meant to generate money, many of the items are reasonably priced so that the main focus is to let everyone get involved in helping out, regardless of their financial situation.”
According to Assistant Director of Institutional Research and Planning Laurel Wilder, the fundraiser helps the organization provide quality education for its youths.
“The reason I volunteer for the Parent Council is that I feel immeasurably blessed knowing that my 2 and 4 year old are loved, engaged, respected, challenged, and valued as individuals when I go to work and take them to school,” Wilder said in an email. “The staff and the caregivers at the Children’s Center are phenomenal people, and they have made us feel like part of a larger family. I like to be able to give a small amount back to them to thank them for caring for and caring about my children.”
The center employs students and provides them with hands-on experience in adolescent education. Third-year linguistics major Erin Strand said her work at the center ignited her interest in becoming a teacher.
“Working at the center has really helped me to understand the importance of early childhood education,” said Strand. “It is amazing seeing how much each child grows and learns every day, and I’m sure much of this is owed to the positive and creative environments the centers provide.”