NewsKern's Kindness


Youth2Leaders holds vendor fair fundraiser benefiting Kern County students

“If they study and they continue going to school and they be somebody in this world, we’ll probably have better leaders in this community."
Posted at 11:55 AM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 14:55:45-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A fundraiser that aimed to support Central Valley students in furthering their education was held in Southwest Bakersfield on Sat, Sept 2.

Youth2Leaders has held fundraisers before but organizers say their most recent event was the first time they have partnered with only local vendors. They say that Saturday's event not only supported local students in their education but gave vendors the chance to be more involved in their community.

“Us being a smaller non-profit, starting here in Kern county and being able to partner with Cubbies, who is another local business and organization, is truly amazing to where it's benefitting both parties,” said Gabriel Adama, Executive Director of Youth2Leaders.

According to Adame, partnering locally allows Youth2Leaders to better achieve its goal of connecting with the community. The organization is grateful for the vendors who came out in support of its cause.

According to Adame, attractions like face painting, a bounce house, and a DJ were important to add, as he says a variety is key when trying to better connect with the community. Many of the vendors at the event said they were grateful for events like it, as it allows them to expand as well.

“To get myself involved, to participate in events like this one that are helping young kids [with] education, for me, it’s very important to be out in the community for these people," said Maria Rodriguez, a local face painter.

Rodriguez says being a part of education-related events is important to her, as she didn’t have the chance to graduate. She wants not only her kids, but the younger generation to have that opportunity.

“If they study and they continue going to school and they be somebody in this world, we’ll probably have better leaders in this community,” said Rodriguez.

A portion of Saturday’s profits will go directly toward Youth2Leaders efforts. Program Coordinator Fellow for Youth2Leaders Erick Plata Torres says being able to give back to students is important to him, as he was once in their shoes. Before his current position, Plata Torres says he was originally in the non-profit’s migrant program.

“It brings me a lot of joy," said Plata Torres. "It's a very rewarding feeling helping out other students where I was in their shoes at one point and going out to the high schools and helping them out apply for their respected financial aid application. It's just a very rewarding feeling.”

Adame says he enjoys being able to see prior students continue in the work and wants people to know that there are resources out there for anyone who needs them.

“It's about the students," said Adame. "It's about the students that were helping to get them closer to their goal of getting into higher education [and] getting into college.”

Event organizers say are happy with Saturday's turnout and want to create more events like this in the future, with their overall goal being to expand and include more vendors.

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