Every year the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education (CAFÉ) organizes its annual golf tournament to raise funds for high school seniors who wish to further their education. However, this year CAFÉ members had to adapt and make changes to its fundraising strategy because of the realities of the current global pandemic.
CAFÉ offers scholarships for Canutillo High School and Northwest Early College High School graduates who strive for academic achievement, community service, and community involvement. To provide the awards, the fund needed help from the community and the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.
“It’s been a great partnership with Paso del Norte Community Foundation. They have been able to help us streamline and help us grow,” said Armando Rodriguez, CAFÉ Co-Chair. “Because of this system, we have been able to grow our contributions from outside of the golf tournament tremendously.”
The annual CAFÉ Golf Tournament is one of the main fundraisers for the organization’s scholarship funds. This year, the tournament was suspended because of COVID-19.
“We were sad when we realized the golf tournament wasn’t going to happen, but we also wanted to take safety precautions for our community as well as for those who contribute to the CAFÉ Golf Tournament,” said Rodriguez. “We still went out and requested donations, and when Charlie Clark was able to donate, we needed to come to the plate too.”
Clark, owner of Charlie Clark Nissan El Paso, made a generous $10,000 donation. The donation put CAFÉ in good position to meet its goals and continue to pursue donations from other would-be golf tournament sponsors in order to allocate scholarships to 2020 graduates. CAFÉ raised $25,000 and awarded $1,000 scholarships to 25 candidates.
Scholarship donations of over $1000 will be honored in the name of the person or company making the donation.
“These young people are our future,” said Clark during a drive-thru scholarship award ceremony held in June. “They are going to be our future leaders. When I’m old and need to be taken care of, I hope that they’re going to be by our side.”
Jillian Cazares, one of the scholarship recipients, earned over 30 college credit hours in the Dual Credit Program at Canutillo High School, was in the National Honor Society and Student Council. Still, she has struggled to find ways to pay for her college education.
“I found out about applying for the CAFÉ scholarship because I have two older siblings who also received the scholarship, and they really encouraged me to apply for it,” said Cazares, who would be attending Texas Tech University to work towards enrolling in the nursing program. “I just wanted to help my parents pay for my college experience because they put my two older siblings through college and I know any amount of money would help them.”
Cazares said she would use the scholarship funds to purchase books, a laptop and other supplies for her classes.
When the scholarships were awarded to the students, Rodriguez was happy to recognize that some of the recipients were children of fellow alumni or familiar faces in the Canutillo community.
“That’s what we are, we’re a community, and we are here to support and help each other,” said Rodriguez. “It’s making sure more and more of these kids have an opportunity to get a degree or go to technical school, to change systemically the way that they grew up.”
For more information on CAFÉ and how you can donate, visit their website at http://www.canutillo-isd.org/CAFE.