Student's community service project pays double dividends
June 1, 2023
The Student Advocacy Center at San Antonio College gets much of its financial support from grants and local businesses like Whataburger, H-E-B, and USAA. As a result, Alejandro Solis made quite an impression when he recently dropped by the center to make a surprise $2,000 donation.
Solis, a Travis Early College High School student at SAC, raised the money while working on a Boy Scouts community service project.
Jillian Denman, the center's Director of Student Advocacy, said students often help out with donation drives to collect toiletries or clothing items to support some of its assistance programs. But, Solis' cash contribution is unique.
"We've gotten funding from community donors and private donors," said Denman, who started work at the center in May 2020. "What's really awesome is this donation came from an actual student. This is a first at least since I've been here."
Solis, who turned 18 in April, recently received his high school diploma and his associate's degree from SAC. He has been accepted for enrollment at UTSA in the fall, where he plans to study for a bachelor's degree in computer science.
Solis' community service project was the last requirement needed for his application as an Eagle Scout with Troop 405.
The project began as an initiative to create Easter baskets for children enrolled at SAC's Early Childhood Center, many of whom are children of students at the college. To raise money for the baskets, Solis launched a GoFundMe campaign on social media and worked with volunteers from the SAC Office of Student Life to post flyers on campus.
As donations poured in, Solis bought the ingredients for the Easter baskets, including candy, plastic eggs, bottles of bubble soap, small toys, and decorations. By the time Solis and his volunteer helpers at SAC finished assembling the baskets, they had enough of them to give one to each of the children in the Early Childhood Center and their siblings.
And that still left Solis with $2,000 in cash.
The Boy Scouts' guidelines for service project funds gave Solis the discretion to make one more difference at SAC. Solis said he chose to donate the extra cash to the Student Advocacy Center because of its mission of helping students in need. Services at the center include mental health counseling, public benefits and emergency assistance and a food pantry.
"I see so many people walking in and out of there all the time," Solis said. "I just decided these funds would really help them."
Denman called Solis' childhood center Easter basket campaign and Advocacy Center cash contribution "simply amazing."
"It's a win, win, win all the way across the board," she said. "He's helped the kiddos, he's helped the student-parents, and now he's helping the Advocacy Center."