Money Collected for Children With Polio

El Vaquero Staff Writer

On Halloween with her cat dressed as a pumpkin, cognitive science major, Jennipha-Lauren Nielsen, 25, went trick-or-treating. But she did not want candy for herself. Her mission was to collect money for the United Nations Children’s Fund during the GCC Pep Club’s second annual UNICEF charity drive.

The total amount collected this year was $468 and will go toward polio vaccinations for children, purchasing school supplies, and helping children who are less fortunate. “I think most people want to be good Samaritans and this is their chance to give,” said Nielsen, who added that the majority of donors were faculty.

The Pep Club also contributes to a variety of charities such as Children’s Charities of Los Angeles, the Young Women’s Christian Association, The Glendale College Police drive and Toys for Tots for Marine Corps. Last year, the Pep Club collected $380 for UNICEF, three barrels of toys for the toy drive, and 500 pounds of food for the food drive.

Charity drives are not the only thing that the Pep Club does.

Occasionally, they throw pool parties and sometimes surprise birthday parties for each other. Once or twice a year they have a club outing for recreational purposes. Last year, they went to Big Bear and they plan to go there this winter. In spring they will head off to Rosarita.

The Pep Club was founded last year after Nielsen first began attending GCC and was not able to find a club that suited her interest. “All I wanted was to get together with people and just enjoy the college experience,” she said. In its first semester, the club had more than 70 members and was nominated for the Most Outstanding Club Award. The thing that makes this club different from all others is that it has no meeting days. Its members communicate via e-mail. “No matter how busy you are, you can still become a member,” said Nielsen.

The Pep Club has a different charity drive going on every semester. “We think of charity during the holidays,” said Nielsen. “But there are people in need all year round.”

The food drive is still under way and the toy drive begins at the end of the month. The club is also looking for members who want to be in charge of the events. “It will provide opportunities for leadership,” said Nielsen. Monetary donations can be dropped off at GCC President Dr. John Davitt’s office.

“This year I want to focus on girls ages 13 to 16,” said Nielsen. For this year’s toy drive, the club encourages gift card donations. “Teenagers are difficult to shop for and for many, the experience of shopping is part of the gift,” said Nielsen.

For more information, write to [email protected].