January 04, 2019

ENGAGE (Explore New Growth and Gain Experience) is a leadership development club at College Ten, UCSC. Every year during Fall Quarter, ENGAGE organizes around a local issue relating to social justice and community. For a number of years, ENGAGE has chosen to host a Fall Festival at College Ten, in which all the proceeds have gone towards a Thanksgiving family sponsorship program rooted in the Beach Flats Community. This year, ENGAGE kept to the core social justice issue of helping to alleviate food insecurity in communities of color, but implemented new programming ideas.

In selecting a project this year, members of ENGAGE decided to maintain its historical relationship with Nueva Vista Community Resources (NVCR) because the Beach Flats Community is a predominantly low-income Latinx community and therefore parallels ENGAGE’s mission of collaborating with local social justice organizations, wherein first year UCSC college students can exercise their leadership skills. This year, ENGAGE continued hosting a Fall Festival at College Ten. The event was titled Don't Leaf Me Hanging Fall Festival and nachos, churros, Penny's ice cream, and cookies from Pacific Cookie Company were sold. All the money that was fundraised was used to address food insecurity in the Beach Flats in two separate and new ways.

With the fundraised money, ENGAGE decided to have a collaborative open community event titled Panzas Felices for community members in the Beach Flats. Members provided free meals to community members. They also organized various activities for community members of any age including bubbles, art, and reflective conversations about food and about food insecurity in Santa Cruz. Also, to further address food insecurity, in addition to the community event, ENGAGE decided to supply funding for NVCR’s Food Pantry. ENGAGE decided to do this, because members wanted to support the programs that NVCR was already doing to address food insecurity in their community and members saw the food pantry as a sustainable way to do so. Furthermore, since NVCR is partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank, they are able to buy more groceries per dollar for families than ENGAGE would be able to if members bought from the stores that they have access to. ENGAGE is proud of the positive and collaborative relationship that the organization continues to develop with Nueva Vista Resources and our neighbors in the Beach Flats Community.