by DIANA CISNEROS/South Kern Sol
LAMONT—The second annual Dolores Huerta Foundation Lock-In was held at the David Head Center in Lamont in July 2011.
This youth organized event was made possible by the efforts and dedication of the DHF youth group. The event welcomed all youth between the ages 13 to 18 from areas Arvin, Lamont, Greenfield and Weedpatch.
Jesus Alberto Alonso, an intern with DHF Youth Group, recognized the hard work it took to put up the event; which included having car washes and seeking donations.
“It makes me happy that we’re finally able to do this event … it was funded through our hard work,” said Alonso.
Alonso, 21, expected a positive outcome for the event and his expectations were correct. A large group of youth were having a good yet safe time. As for the group, Alonso has seen members of the youth group take leadership roles.
“Since the youth group started, I’ve seen many break out of their shells and become involved. Today’s event shows that there is a positive environment, that there’s youth in the community,” he said, proudly. “Hopefully it will encourage them to interact and invite them to become leaders on the community.”
Indeed, the event proved to offer an inspiring, fun experience. At the front door students turned in a permission slip to ensure their security and made themselves a name tag. Now it was time for fun. The room was decorated with colorful beach-themed pieces.
Greeters at the door would welcome everyone by their name and offer them a colorful lei. They were then led to a table filled with board games and other entertaining activities. As soon as everyone got settled in, the 47 youth began on a 12-hour journey, which would be filled with cheer and laughter.
To begin, DHF presented a PowerPoint that included their mission statement and also projects that their members participated in, including mural paintings and learning sessions.
Afterwards, there was a brief presentation honoring all of the work of Richard Chavez, a man who supported his brother Cesar and was advocate for change himself. A moment of silence was dedicated to his memory.
Following this moment of reflection, the youth were ready for the entertainment to begin. They were treated to a delicious dinner that included tacos, rice, beans, fruit, fruit salad and drinks.
After dinner, it was party time! The youth was invited to interact with each other, without parents, safe from danger and enjoying them. The youth were encouraged to get to know each other. Games that lasted throughout the night allowed for them to share their interests and experience with others, to get to know each other.
Snacks, warm drinks and other refreshments were available at all times. The scent of homemade cinnamon coffee, chocolate pastries, nachos and buttery popcorn danced in the air and allowed for the youth to remain at home all of the time. All throughout the evening FIFA championships were held, movies played, as well as raffles with prizes was held.
Morning came and although everybody had fun, they were tired. The morning breakfast woke everyone that had fallen asleep and reunited them with those that stayed up all throughout the night. After the breakfast came the ‘goodbyes’ began even with the newly found friendships.
As high school senior Marylou Chavez reflected, she learned so much. She develop new bond with friends and leadership skills.
“A lot of youth are willing to give up their time and spend it with other people they don’t know,” said Chavez. “This was an experience, which I really enjoyed and would recommend to all youth. It was a memorable night was and I’m looking forward for it to happening once again.”