Western Iowa Tech Community College campus in Denison

“Giving back to the community is something that is important to all of us,” said Jessica Garcia, director of the Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) Denison Campus and Southern Service Area.

With that in mind, faculty and staff of the WITCC Denison Campus have been making an effort to find ways to help the local community.

Garcia said the idea grew out of seeing the different ways the WITCC Sioux City Campus has of giving back to their community.

The Sioux City campus is in a larger metro area with many nonprofits that WITCC and school clubs have been able to work with.

“We decided we wanted to find a way that we could do that in Denison, but on a smaller scale,” Garcia said.

“The entire staff on the campus got together to decide on some projects for us to give back with, especially around the holidays.”

For Thanksgiving, the school issued a challenge for faculty and staff to bring in items to add to care packages for active-duty members of the military.

A WITCC employee of the financial aid office in Sioux City is currently deployed in an undisclosed location.

“We were able to send things to where they could ship them to wherever he was so that he would be able to share with his fellow soldiers that were serving active duty over Thanksgiving,” Garcia said. “That was our project in November.”

In December, the WITCC Denison Campus faculty and staff collected funds for the Goodfellows program to help provide for several children during the holiday season.

“Everybody donated in increments of $5 and we pooled together the money to make that happen,” Garcia said.

Sandy Velasquez, the WITCC campus service coordinator in Denison, was a driving force behind the giving program.

“She came up with donating to active duty individuals and with the idea of donating money to children in need in the community,” Garcia said. “She keeps a finger on the pulse of what’s happening and looks out for where we could donate.”

Giving back helps build camaraderie among the faculty and staff, she said.

“It kind of goes hand in hand with what we’re doing with our monthly programs, as far as helping high school students prepare for college,” Garcia said, “but we also want to help the nonprofits and those in need in our community, as well.”

In August, the school’s nursing club donated funds to purchase school supplies for students in the Denison elementary schools.

Four boxes of books were collected on the WITCC Sioux City campus for Denison’s “Free Little Libraries” that were created at the Denison campus last year.

“It’s great to work at a place where people want to help those in need in the community,” Garcia said. “It’s something I think we all feel the need to do.”

The plan going forward is to come up with a new objective for the faculty and staff in Denison to give to each month.

“We’re looking for different ways to be able to be involved in the community, help the community and also involve our staff and faculty,” she said, “but we’re not always aware of who is in need and where we can help out.”

The school is seeking suggestions for other giving opportunities the faculty and staff could pursue.

“We’re interested in knowing if anybody knows of individuals that are in need,” Garcia said.

An idea hasn’t yet been agreed on for where to give in January.

“So far we don’t have anything for the months to follow. We’ll try to come up with something we can do, whether it’s as a campus, something that one of our clubs does or something else,” she said.

“If there are ideas that anybody has or wants to share, we would love to hear about them. We are here to help in whatever way we can.”

Garcia or Velasquez may be contacted at 712-263-3419 by anyone with a suggestion for the coming months.

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