On Wednesday, October 9, several WNMU students delivered a presentation, sharing their recent experiences with Mustangs Care initiatives. Mustangs Care is a program led by the Department of Student Life with the goal of improving student experiences through real-life opportunities. These opportunities help students realize their purpose in society while helping out communities with a need.
Established in 2017, Mustangs Care service-learning programs throughout the last two years include cooking and serving at the Silver City Gospel Mission, leading arts and crafts session at the local nursing home, hosting the annual Hoops 4 Hope event for people with learning and physical disabilities, and an annual trip to Mexico where students help build homes among other charitable work.
The presentation’s focus was on the students’ recent trip to Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico in September. The Mexico trip, associated with the Rancho Feliz charity, happens every fall semester. Ten students participated on this three-day experience. During this time, they visit a rehab center for drug and alcohol addicts to listen to their stories, and visited a migration center to hear the tough journeys migrants take when seeking asylum to the US. The main purpose of the trip is to help build a home for a family in need.
Kassandra Segura a student from the Deming campus shared her experience of the Mexico Trip. Segura had the chance to go to Mexico during the Mexican Independence holiday, where she was able to experience a whole new tradition. “The people that I met, the acts of kindness, the conversations, our group, it’s really inspiring,” said Segura.
Abe Villarreal, Assistant Dean of Student Support, also presented about other Mustangs Care programs. On the third Friday of each month, the Department of Student Life takes students to the Silver City Care Center to make arts and crafts with the residents. “Most importantly students are expected to communicate and spend time with the residents to cheer up their day,” said Villarreal.
Saturdays are spent at the Gospel Mission where students help prepare, cook, and serve meals to those in need. Students also get to eat the food they prepared and chat with everyone there. “Each Saturday is a new experience and it is often eye-opening for our Mustangs,” said Villarreal.
At the start of each school year, Mustangs meet in Silver City Downtown to engage in a Day of Service where they clean windows of buildings, sweep the sidewalks, and other activities to clean downtown, in partnership with Silver City Mainstreet.
Each spring semester, Hoops 4 Hope takes place, where students play games with community members that have learning and physical disabilities.
Once a month, Mustangs meet at the Center for Student Success to write letters for people going through a hard time in life. Stories come from MoreLoveLetters.com. The Center for Student Success provides materials to make the letters unique and inspiring.
“There are always ongoing opportunities for our students to participate in service learning, with the hope that they will connect with our local and regional communities in special ways,” said Villarreal.
When students participate in Mustangs Care events for the first time, they receive a free Mustangs Care T-shirt. After being involved with four events, Mustangs are awarded with a Mustang Care Champion certificate.
For more information contact Abe Villarreal at 575-538-6304 or visit the Center for Student Success.