By Daisy Garcia Montoya
It’s that time of year again, and the annual Cambio para Cambio campaign, a fundraising competition to create scholarships, is back.
Since 2017, Hispanic Development Fund (HDF), an organization focused on improving the quality of life for Latino families in the Kansas City metro area by creating empowered communities through scholarship support, has led the annual Cambio para Cambio campaign.
The campaign is held each year during Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15, with different categories of participants: high schools, colleges and universities, and local organizations. In the Northeast community, East, Northeast, and Lincoln high schools will be participating with their own strategies and ideas to reach their goal.
Aside from wanting to achieve the accomplishment of winning in the high school category, students say that participating in this fundraiser helps them celebrate their Hispanic heritage and culture.
At Lincoln, senior Flor Ramos said her motivation to get involved can be traced to a teacher who was an active participant in fundraising efforts.
“From there, my motivation to continue to grow the scholarship initiative has grown,” Ramos said. “This fundraiser specifically contributes significantly to our community because it fosters unity, creates cultural events, and opens up the opportunity to have conversations about our Hispanic heritage.”
The school is currently selling paletas to raise funds, but is in the process of creating a Hispanic snack cart. With the Hispanic snack cart, students and school staff will be able to purchase chicharrones, maruchan, Gansitos, aguas frescas packets, chamoy candies and much more. In addition, the school will also be offering a movie night for families and students to generate funds while creating long-term memories for Lincoln families. The students leading the campaign at Lincoln have a goal of raising a total of $9,000, surpassing last year’s amount. Ramos said that for them, aside from reaching the monetary goal, the students want to ensure that they have a positive impact by cultivating an inclusive community by sharing information and history about Hispanic culture and heritage throughout their campaign.
Down the road, East is hosting several events to engage the community and reach their goal. Among its events, East held “A Night of Celebration” at the J. Rieger Distillery on October 2, where the community, organizations and companies were invited. There was an awards presentation and testimonials from previous scholarship recipients, as well as a silent auction. In addition to this formal event, East is organizing a fall festival on October 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., honoring Hispanic Heritage Month. They invite the entire community to celebrate their roots while helping to raise funds for their campaign.
“This festival is something special to me because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do here in the East,” said Yasmin Gutierrez, registrar at East. “It’s a way to raise funds but from my heart, it’s also to bring the whole community together. I’ve always wanted to have all the elementary schools here with local vendors. To me this is hope, a grain of hope. They have hope in their education. Many of our Latino students don’t know they have these opportunities. For me Cambio para Cambio is hope, change, it’s the thing they never knew they could get because they are Latino and it’s for them to know that we are here to support them.”
At the Fall Festival, there will be an obstacle course, farm animals, yard games and candy. Gutierrez says she wants to see the entire community come together and sees this event as an opportunity to help local entrepreneurs. East is looking to raise $15,000, building on last year’s amount with its new strategies.
Although Cambio para Cambio focuses on engaging students with Latino and Hispanic backgrounds, Northeast has seen immense interest from students from different ethnic and racial backgrounds that are not Latino or Hispanic. Ayanna Castaneda said students like being involved and are excited to have the opportunity to help organize the events and fundraisers.
“I now see that many students are making new friends with students they might not have interacted with before if they weren’t participating in this campaign,” Castaneda said.
The school has focused on selling snacks at school during lunch time but they also organized a movie day for the students. The movie event was a great success, as they had to use two rooms to show the movie due to the number of tickets they were able to sell. Aside from these strategies, there will also be a raffle ticket sale where the winner will have the opportunity to throw a pie at one of the teachers.
Aracely Alcantar, a senior, said that for her it has been very refreshing to be a part of Cambio para Cambio because it gives her the opportunity to learn more about her culture and see representation during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Doing these fundraisers has gotten more students involved in school, which helps create scholarships to go to college when we graduate,” Alcantar said.
To encourage student involvement, East and Northeast will offer community hours to students who volunteer, which will count toward their graduation requirements. In addition, the three schools are supporting each other by volunteering at and attending each other’s events. The schools hope to reach their goal while building community pride and collaboration.
If you would like more information about Cambio para Cambio please visit: hdfkc.org/cambio-para-cambio.
To stay up to date with each school’s events and fundraisers, visit each school’s Facebook page. To donate to a specific school, go to the links: