Islanders Team Up to Help The Ark for National TRIO Day

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As part of National TRIO Day, Saturday, Feb. 23, Programs for Academic Student Support (PASS) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi collected gently used clothes, shoes, and toys for the children at The Ark along with reusable bags that will be given to the children who are placed in foster homes. PASS also collected food for Izzy’s Pantry, a campus-based food supplier for Island University students who are struggling with food insecurity.

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), an affiliate of PASS, acknowledged National TRIO Day by collecting and delivering donations for The Ark, a Corpus Christi-area assessment center and emergency shelter for youth.

Jocelyn Gutierrez, director of SSS-Teacher Prep, said 2019’s observance marked the 33rd anniversary of National TRIO Day.

“On the fourth Saturday of February of each year, TRIO programs from across the country come together to raise awareness about the importance of educational opportunity for low-income, first generation and students with disabilities,” Gutierrez said. “This is done by allowing each program to participate in community service events from anything like building a house with Habitat for Humanity to reading to children, assisting the Red Cross, serving at soup kitchens or helping at local animal shelters.” 

PASS program members, staff and their families gathered for breakfast on the morning of Feb. 23 to celebrate National TRIO Day.

“After breakfast, we sorted out what was collected, categorized it, bagged it and loaded it into a truck,” Gutierrez said. “After everything was loaded, A&M-Corpus Christi TRIO members headed out to Annaville to deliver the items to The Ark. We delivered two truckloads of supplies.”

Pilar Harkless, a biomedical sciences junior, said the day offered her the opportunity to give back.

“I knew we were reaching out to help others – people we did not know but who would know that someone cared about them. It was a reminder of how our gifts are not for us but to benefit others,” Harkless said. “I also enjoyed being with other students. Many of them I know in passing, but during the event I got to sit down and have a conversation over a meal. I made some new friends. I will get involved again because of the great feeling it gave me.”

Kinesiology junior Albert Hernandez said he was also glad to lend a helping hand.

“By pitching in to help The Ark, we showed that TRIO works and helps the community that I am glad to be a part of,” Hernandez said.

Comprised of eight federal outreach and student services programs, TRIO’s objective is to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. National TRIO Day was first observed on Feb. 28, 1986, as a result of a congressional resolution (H. Con. Res. 278) to commemorate the achievements for the Federal TRIO programs.