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#NeighborhoodHeroes: Cathedral City High School band members get involved in the community

Cathedral City High Band members were tasked with community service projects prior to closures March 13th. The kids came up with a variety of outreach projects and ways to get involved in helping the community during the coronavirus pandemic. These projects involved making face masks, volunteering with organizations, making goodie bags for neighbors, and backpacks filled with necessities for the homeless.

Matt Howe, the director of bands at Cathedral City High School said, "I’m hoping that they’ll learn from it and that they’ll understand that in times of crisis, leaders step forward and take action.” These community service projects started out as a leadership project for next year's student band leaders. It turned into an opportunity to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Emiliano Vasquez, one Cathedral City High School band member, said, "With the COVID pandemic going on, I am sure there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to go out into the community and help and I’ll be one of the first to go after those activities with all I’ve got." He acknowledged that these community service projects made him want to help out even more. Vasquez used his project to hand-make face masks for his family and the workers at his family's restaurant. He said, "Some people are super scared during these times and to be able to do something nice for them such as making a handmade mask, that really puts a smile on their face. It really gives them some sort of relief."

Masks made by Emiliano Vasquez

Others participating in the community service projects made care packages and distributed them to the homeless population. One of those was Lilly Vay, another Cathedral City High School band member. She explained what they did, "Basically just a backpack that we filled with essentials. It came with things like a blanket, basic hygiene material like soap, toothbrush, razors, and a couple of snacks." She also added why she decided to focus on the homeless population, "I think the homeless in general are very overlooked around here. Especially in a time of crisis they are very vulnerable because they don’t have access to the resources we have. Like at least we have general shelter, water, we can stay inside."

Care packages given to the homeless community

Two best friends participating in the community service project worked together to create and distribute different kinds of care packages. Emily Sosa and Jocelyn Mora are both Cathedral City High School band members. Sosa said, "We made these small packages and we put in wet wipes, a small pack of kleenex vitamin c, which was a tangerine, some candy to keep your spirits up and some handmade positive notes." They biked throughout the neighborhood and dropped off the bags on people's doorsteps. Sosa said, "We made this in the idea that if we did it for some people, hopefully, they could take it, make it their own, and spread it more." They wanted it to be like a butterfly effect throughout the region. Mora added, "We just put on some music, had fun, created the packages, and went to go deliver them."

Emily Sosa and Jocelyn Mora

These projects were a way for students to stay engaged, have some fun, and spread positivity to the community.

Howe said, "It’s great that the music students are creative and hardworking and have great attitudes. It’s not surprising to me to see them take action and to do these kinds of projects and to be leaders of not only their school but of their community."

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

While the coronavirus crisis is keeping us apart, we know the Coachella Valley community is still coming together to help each other. We are looking for those who are lending a hand during this uncertain time. Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email SHARE@kesq.com. If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

We are all in this together. Help us showcase the good that's happening right here in the Coachella Valley.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
Cough into your elbow or tissue.
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.

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