Yuda Bands fundraiser pays for child’s education

Key, Interact clubs partner, raise $4,200 in funds

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After selling 600 Yuda Bands, Oak Park’s Key and Interact Club members have raised over $4,000 to sponsor the education of Guatemalan 14-year-old Freddy Lozano.

Inspired by Newbury Park High School’s Yuda Bands fundraiser, Key Club paired with Interact Club to introduce the fundraiser to the high school Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Students look through Yuda band collection to decide which one to buy. Key club and Interact are fundraising to help Freddy Lozano pay for his education. (Quinn Conohan/Talon)

Yuda Bands are handmade bracelets made of leather and coconut by artisans in Guatemala. After finding Lozano through the Yuda Bands website, Oak Park’s Interact and Key Club ordered 600 bracelets. Students affiliated with the clubs sold the bracelets for $7 each.

“We chose [to sponsor Lozano] because he needed 565 bands to pay for his entire education, which was something we could achieve,” Oak Park High School Key Club co-President Diane Kim said.

Lozano’s low-income family struggled to find the resources to continue his education. In particular, the family struggled to pay off medical bills after the boy had broken his arm, while also paying his school’s tuition.

“[Lozano] has six other siblings and a health problem, and he just didn’t want to put the burden of his education onto his family,” Oak Park High School Key Club co-President and senior Bianca Becerra said.

Club members raised $4,200 for Lozano, surpassing their original goal of $3,955. The additional money raised by the fundraiser also allows Lozano to join a leadership program where he could give back to his community in Guatemala through service work.

With the money, approximately $350 is used annually to provide for tuition at a private school. The rest is used for school fees, books, uniforms and the supplies needed for Lozano’s community service projects.

Sometimes you think that you can’t make a difference, but here we have these high school students on their own accord wanting to do something for someone else. I know this generation gets attacked for being selfish, but when you look at this group that I work with in Key Club, they are the farthest thing from that.”

— Todd Creason

According to junior Emma Loparco, it was the entire school joining together that really brought the fundraiser to life.

“I see so many people wearing them and all these little bits are building up to make a much bigger thing than just one person buying them,” Loparco said.

This is the first time that Interact Club paired with Key Club for a fundraiser; however, they plan to do it again in the future, according to Interact Club President Rithik Kumar.

“The mission of Interact [Club] is to put ‘service above self’ and we saw the Yuda Bands fundraiser as a perfect way to propagate community wellness,” Kumar said.

According to junior Karisa Toy, the bands required a small price to pay in order to help Lozano.

“I felt that my money was going towards something personal because I was giving my money to a specific person,” Toy said.

This is the first year that Oak Park High School students have fundraised with Yuda Bands.

According to Oak Park Key Club advisor Todd Creason, the club always attempts to create new ways to engage and help its community.

“Each year, the Key Club cabinet brings their own personality to the position. We’ve done other fundraisers, but we’ve never done something like this,” Creason said.

The fundraiser’s success, Creason said, reflects the selflessness of Oak Park students.

“Sometimes you think that you can’t make a difference, but here we have these high school students on their own accord wanting to do something for someone else,” Creason said. “I know this generation gets attacked for being selfish, but when you look at this group that I work with in Key Club, they are the farthest thing from that.”

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