Aurora West Hosts Winter Drive for Families

Written By AWCPA Strategic Support Coordinator & PR Representative Shazia Sulehria

“A community that stands together, stays together. During challenges a person's true colors show through. Our community shows the value and care for every person that brings prosperity, grace, and joy to us all.”- Dr. Garrett Douglas, AWCPA Principal 

The holiday season can be filled with many ups and downs. Being part of Aurora West College Preparatory Academy (AWCPA), we have continued to support our North Aurora Community as much as possible. Our students and their families have been hit with a variety of trials and tribulations in addition to the pandemic itself.

Weeks back, a fire ravaged the Galena Apartments that housed various AWCPA students. This caused many to be displaced, lose items and loved ones, and have their education take a back seat until a sense of normalcy was secured. Providing students with some stability and support was a challenge, but our students and families have pulled through thanks to the care provided by so many.

Recently, AWCPA was chosen to be sponsored by a non-profit organization called Building Futures, led by Domonic Martinez and Ray Valdez. “Dom brought the event to our organization as a way to show gratitude to a community that has shaped our values,” said Valdez. The organization's initiative in creating and collecting donations to provide our North Aurora families and schools (AWCPA, Aurora Central High School, and Wheeling Elementary School) with essentials for this holiday and winter season was a blessing for so many.

“We’ve established roots in North Aurora the past six plus years through teaching, coaching, and leading in this community," said Martinez. "It has become our home away from home and we consider it a part of our larger family unit. We were experiencing first hand the immediate needs of our students and families,” he added. Martinez is well known within the community and his connections with families have been a tremendous support.

"We had to do our part, as little as it may be, to pull something together," Martinez voiced. "Family and community are the backbone of our values. Our three board members decided that a call to action was needed and immediately jumped to action. We contacted AWCPA's family liaisons to gauge what was needed and went to work to rally support. Barnett Enterprises and their resources were instrumental in helping us pull it together in such a small amount of time and getting the word out to our network. Building Futures, as well as dba T2 Basketball and our T2 Basketball families, answered the call to action without hesitation. Our network runs deep and wide. Everyone from federal judges right down to our very own sons jumped in to contribute. This was a combined community and family effort. I'm a proud member and advocate for the North Aurora Family, T2 Basketball, and our non profit Building Futures.”

The drive for donations brought in new clothing, jackets, shoes, toys, household essentials, and hygiene products. AWCPA Community in Schools Coordinator Morgan Norwood and AWCPA Family Liaison Lexi Thomas helped send out the message to our families to attend our winter drive. They created an outdoor pick up for the items through a grab-and-go system, while practicing health safety guidelines. The event was held Dec. 18-19 in the AWCPA parking lot. Our volunteers for distribution included The Buffalo Soldiers, Norwood, Thomas, staff members, administrators and AWCPA Principal Dr. Garrett Douglas.

"Everyone participated in gathering orders and creating packages for families as they arrived," said AWCPA Strategic Support Coordinator and PR Representative Shazia Sulehria. "Families picked up the school lunch and items they requested. They were delighted to walk away with essentials for their loved ones. We are touched by the gratitude and generosity of all who have supported our North Aurora Community."