Puente club brings family style support to members

By Nina Cestaro, Staff Writer

There are a few clubs on the Contra Costa College campus that could take a student places, open their minds and bring clarity about their interests. The Puente Club, a club focused on guiding students and exposing them to different universities while creating a family-bond support system, is focused on building leadership skills while giving back to the community.

Welcoming members from all races, genders, ages and backgrounds, Puente Club boasts more than 23 active student members currently.

General club meetings are on Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. in the Student Services conference room A and executive club meetings are on Tuesdays from 2-3 p.m. in the same location.

Norma Valdez-Jimenez, counselor and Puente Club adviser, said, “This year’s group of Puente students have truly impressed me with their commitment to each other, primarily in the manner that they support and encourage each other academically and personally. They have a strong bond rooted in the Puente principles of ‘familia,’ with a deep understanding of what it means to be part of a community. They are energetic and creative in their leadership and know how to dream big.”

Club President Sixto Turcios said, “A few things that changed in my life as a result of being a part of Puente Club is that I went from being a lost soul, to knowing what it is I am here to do, now I am more willing to finish my education. Seeing other students in my same situation made me feel more motivated and just have more discipline.”

Through community service, such as raising awareness and donating foods by going door-to-door and asking club members to bring canned goods, the Puente Club contributed those foods to the Early Childhood Mental Health Program in Richmond for families in need, Turcios said.

He said that for fun and to expose students to universities they were able to get a two-night three-day trip together to visit UC Santa Barbara earlier this semester as well as visiting Cal Poly during the same trip. For previous semesters they have toured UC Santa Cruz, as well as the boardwalk.

Members also had the opportunity to visit UCLA with a paid flight. With fundraising, the club was able to provide some of the funds and the rest from ICC and ASU, Amparo said.