Valencia organizations team up to help the homeless


Abby Prickett

Multiple Valencia organizations teamed up to help for the event.

Peals of laughter and the beat of music filled the Women’s and Family Center thanks to Valencia’s volunteers.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, multiple Valencia groups joined together to create an outdoor Fall Fest for those residing at Coalition for the Homeless. Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute hosted this service project to provide the families, who reside at the coalition, a fun, carefree day.

A plethora of food and activities were offered to those in the Coalition community— cotton candy, face paint, chalk, jump rope, sack races, crafts, hula-hoops, games, music, and even a bounce house transformed the front of the facility.

Pi Theta Kappa, the Honors Society, and the Peace and Justice Institute all teamed up to make this autumn bash one to remember.

“What we do is we contact different clubs on campus and we ask them if they want to participate and if so, what can they bring as an activity to do,” said Krystal Pherai, a Peace and Justice Institute staff member. “So Pi Theta Kappa came, and they brought coloring and face paint and different things like that. The Hero club from west campus is [also] here and they brought cotton candy.”

Not only does this event benefit the cause, but it also gives students opportunities to grow and help others. With Valencia’s clubs and organizations partnering to do projects such as this, students are learning the importance of serving the community.

“I’m starting to [volunteer] more, because I just got the position of vice president of service for Pi Theta Kappa,” said Suhan Rosario, a nineteen-year-old east campus student. “I think it’s important to give back because we’re really blessed, and a lot of people don’t appreciate what they have. I feel like giving back helps other people, but it helps us too because then we can appreciate everything that we have and it helps us grow more as people.”

For the past ten to twelve years, Rachel Allen, the coordinator of the Peace and Justice Institute, has brought Valencia students to serve at the Coalition. It’s become a biannual event, with the Spring Fling in March and the Fall Fest in October.

This organization sprang up in Central Florida due to the pressing need around them. Florida currently holds thirty five thousand, nine hundred homeless. The Women’s and Family center holds 63 percent of the Coalition’s residents, and serves up to 200 children and their families per night. By providing food, shelter, education, and support, Coalition for the Homeless’ goal is to invest and transform those in less fortunate circumstances.

The event caused these families to shed some of their anxiety and worries as was evident in the abundant smiles and active participation. Both Valencia volunteers and those who attended will tell you that Fall Fest was again a success.

“It’s funny cause after each one, after every Fall and Spring, we’re always like “Oh that was the best one yet!” and I think we’re probably going to say that again today,” laughed Pherai, “It’s been a really fun day, and we have a lot of volunteers, like I’ve really enjoyed the energy from the volunteers… it’s also been a beautiful day— a perfect day for a Fall Fest.”