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Give Big Kern: Celebrating the giving spirit of Kern County

For one day, Kern County pulls out the stops and digs deep to help the nonprofits that help Kern students, neighbors, youth, and communities.
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Posted at 7:23 PM, May 02, 2023

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Tuesday May 2 was Give Big Kern Day, a time to spotlight various local nonprofits and school clubs and encourage the community to donate to the cause of their choice.

There are so many organizations to choose from in Kern County, and 23ABC spent the day learning a little bit about many of them.

One of the nonprofit organizations participating in Give Big Kern is Bakersfield High School. BHS representatives say any money donated to them will benefit the school and its roughly 50 student programs.

"With this money, we'll have funding to go on field trips, for uniforms and things that we might not have if we don't have that excess cash," said BHS Senior Class President Sophia Resolme.

Resolme is part of many other campus organizations, like the National Honors Society, and participates in cross country. She says her involvement in these groups has allowed her to understand the importance of Give Big Kern, and says some of that money should focus on the school's athletic programs.

Denim Simmons is part of the BHS Driller Football team and is a member of the Student Council. He says there are so many sports that could benefit from these donations, starting with his own.

"They can help pay for trips if we need to, get new uniforms, especially with our Drillers football program, can help us get new equipment for our weight room," said Simmons. "It can help us with, like, expenses."

Simmons says he wants to make BHS better before he graduates, and says this money could make that happen.

Associated Student Body Vice President Ashley Vazquez not only agrees with her peers, but adds that BHS is widely connected to the community, and the funds would allow them to better represent themselves.

"You think of Bakersfield High School, you think of tradition, so to just represent as cheerleaders or as football players is amazing, and an amazing opportunity to have because you're giving back to your community," said Vazquez.

Each of the students agrees that their overall goal is to use this money to not only benefit their own groups, but to continue to be able to give back to their communities.

Resolme adds that it's all about representation.

"It would mean the world to our school. It would really represent our school in the best light, as we would be able to offer more for all of our students, as well as everyone, to be seeing us in our colors, our uniforms and everything, in our best light," said Resolme.

WATCH: BAKERSFIELD HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPATES IN GIVE BIG KERN 2023:

BHS students hope Give Big Kern will help them reach their goals

Another nonprofit participating in Give Big Kern this year is Transitional Youth Mobilizing for Change (TYM4Change). Executive Director Jovon Dangerfield says funding is key to making their dreams for the organization become a reality.

"We're looking for people that believe in us to invest in us and get behind us because we're doing some one-of-a-kind and very unique work here in Kern County," said Dangerfield.

Dangerfield says TYM4Change has so many different aspects to it, and that's why funding is critical for them to move forward.

"We just do a whole bunch of things that pertain to change, but getting the youth involved. Imagine if the youth were involved in their own campaign for changing instead of adults dictating to the youth how to be involved and how to care and what to care about," said Dangerfield.

Dangerfield says the money they receive from Give Big Kern donors will go toward extending the projects they currently have, and becoming more able to shed light on more youth voices.

One of the more established Give Big Kern participants is the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which works with youth and community members to provide education and resources to create better school environments.

Deputy Director for the Huerta Foundation Cecilia Castro explains how the foundation would use the funding.

"We are launching our first youth summer camp, which is a 2-week camp where they're going to be learning about different types of mediums through the arts, and they're going to be congregating with students from all throughout the Central Valley, so it's very exciting," said Castro.

Program Director for Bakersfield Recovery Services Gilbert Laroque says Give Big Kern is also a way for nonprofits to meet and network, share ideas, and find ways to serve the community better.

"It's all about service, you know. Being a nonprofit is all about how we are helping our community, and Bakersfield is the biggest giving community that you could ever meet," said Laroque.

BRS is primarily an addiction treatment center, but they offer so much more. Laroque says they already have ideas as to where the funding will go.

"Things for our Mommy House," said Laroque. "Furniture for the babies, and being able to help in visitation and stuff like that. Computer stations so that we can help them to build resumes and talk to their case managers."

Give Big Kern ends at midnight on May 2, but these nonprofits' need for additional funding will remain. If you missed the event but would still like to donate to a Kern County nonprofit, you can contact them directly or look up their webpage to see if they have a way for you to donate online.