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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Sophomores Jack and Mariana Gomez win 8th annual Paws for Humanity competition

Melody Huang

On April 8, three groups of Poly Upper School students presented their community service projects to win Poly’s Paws for Humanity grant provided by the Upper School Student Community Engagement Council (US-SCEC), which awards money to student-run projects geared towards bettering the community. The groups created presentations based on the “hero’s journey,” outlining the evolution of their projects around the literary concept.

The applicants had to face many trials to get their projects to where they are today, from a lack of funding to rejections from already-established organizations. To win the Paws grant, they had to complete applications, give mock presentations and meet with Community Engagement Coordinator Renee Larios.

“We want to see that they have a vision for the future,” stated Larios.

The first finalist was Teens at the Door, founded by junior Jerry Fu, which supports refugee families through educational workshops that help build relationships with the local community. The second was the Butterfly Project, founded by juniors Giuliana Nelson and Madeleine Kashkooli, which combats homelessness through care packages and education workshops. The third was Club Mudd, founded by sophomores Jack and Mariana Gomez, which promotes arts education with ceramics workshops throughout Los Angeles. All of the finalists presented their projects to the student body.

Jerry Fu (Photographer: Melody Huang)

Mariana Gomez said, “It was kind of scary to get up in front of the entire school and talk about ourselves, talk about what we did, and why it’s important to us. But we’ve had so much support from the US-SCEC and Ms. Larios.”

After the judges tallied up their points, the $500 grant went to Club Mudd. As runners up, the Butterfly Project and Teens at the Door also each received $300 grants.

“It’s really changed our project and it’s helped us take action in our community,” said Nelson.

In addition to supporting the causes they’re passionate about, all three groups, through their presentations, sought to inspire other Poly students to work towards change. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see what new initiatives Poly students decide to take towards improving their communities.

Left: Giuliana Nelson; Right: Madeleine Kashkooli (Photographer: Melody Huang)
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Jujube Hutt
Jujube Hutt, Assistant News Editor
Grade: 10 Years on Staff: 2 Fun Fact: I'm really good at juggling Favorite TV Show: Survivor and Star Trek
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