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I CARE; do you?

The cold December air swept through the hallways. Students and staff alike were overflowing with emotion. December 3rd through December 7th was the highly anticipated CARE Week. It was a time for everyone to shine and show Las Lomas what they have in them. Activities of bingo, game shows, poetry slams, and everything in between were scattered throughout the week. Every day invited a different theme of dress with cultural and personal expression. The initial idea of a week about spreading love and kindness sounds wonderful at first glance, but did CARE Week hold up to this standard of sunshine and rainbows? It surprisingly had a turnout that most of us may have not expected.

The CARE in CARE Week stands for compassion, acceptance, respect, and equity. There are various reasons why Las Lomas has an event like this. Mark Lewis described it as “…students that feel like they want to raise awareness about people that are different in a variety of ways and better understanding the differences among us.” We tend to lose sight of the challenges that others face on the daily. CARE Week is designed for this community to think outside of the box and discover new perspectives of people all over the spectrum. “A lot of people at Las Lomas kind of live in a bubble,” Sara Mya explained, “They’re not really aware that racism, sexism, and homophobia is still very rampant.” The intentions of CARE Week are very pure and good spirited. The execution of the event, however, has brought some concerns.

Lori Gieleghem‒a self proclaimed frustrated idealist‒had this to say: “I’m a little conflicted about it. I recognize the need for something to make us more caring about one another in an increasingly fractious world. At the same time, the very people who should be taking care of themselves so they have the energy to care for others—teachers—are being asked to do even more than we already do.” She is concerned about how the execution of CARE Week has placed an extra burden on teachers around campus as bonus parents for students in distress. Other teachers will say otherwise. Marlene Miranda said, “I’m very proud of the students who are doing this work.” These past few weeks have been turbulent for students around campus. Teachers regularly guide students through their troubles, but this needed attention often brings even more stress and responsibilities to the teachers who already have so much on their plates.

Another concern with CARE Week involves the lack of attention and participation among the student body. I conducted a survey to get a statistical perspective, and the results were shocking. Only 3 out of the 34 kids I surveyed participated in any CARE Week activities. That is roughly 9% of anyone having some role or attendance to the events that so many people worked so hard on. Several of the students were not even aware that CARE Week had happened. Sara Mya‒one of the leaders of the Gender Sexuality Alliance Club‒also had this to say: “Sadly, a lot of people take it as a joke. It’s not taken very seriously. A lot of people don’t even know the dress days. For Homecoming, a lot of people dressed up. You don’t see anyone caring about it.” The intended audience of this event was supposed to reach a better level of understanding of the disadvantages that other people face. The audience has unfortunately dismissed the message of CARE Week because it may not apply to them. We can’t force people to care, but we can at least try.

A polarized political climate and a selfish nature in our world has definitely taken a toll on our communities and standards of respect. Las Lomas combats these demons of hatred with ideas like CARE Week. The next step in the right direction is to improve the execution of a week of such importance. We can’t abolish division by telling others what to think or say. We should broaden the message of CARE Week to more people in the community and the administration should spread more awareness about it beforehand. Families and friends all connected to us should know why we have CARE Week. Our student body would be better off with more listening and compassion by regarding CARE Week more.

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