Latino club renamed, shifts focus to faith

Mariana Enriquez / Roundup

Latinos with a Purpose, an Associated Students Organization club at Pierce College, recently changed its name to Refuge.

With a mission statement, “to promote our Latino culture and share our Christian faith,” they have decided to rename themselves to include everyone at Pierce.

Carla Garcia, 22, president of Refuge, showbox server error who began the club in spring 2006.

Although most of the club’s government is of Latino descent, not everyone is.

“We are about unity, not division,” said Gabby Gurrola, one of the treasurers for Refuge.

“We want to reach everyone and everybody has a voice with Refuge,” said Garcia.

What initially began as a targeted Latino organization is no longer, as the club decided to focus more on its strong Christian faith.

Refuge on campus is a social and religious club that welcomes everyone. It is a stronghold club that offers aid, relief and escapism from daily stresses.

Garcia, a third-year Pierce student, is transferring soon, in hope of someday becoming a social worker.

Prior to her creation of Latinos with a Purpose, Garcia said, “Nobody really ever approached me, to join their club.”

She also never really saw much involvement in the clubs around her.

This lack of involvement caused Garcia to walk into the ASO office one random day and say, “I want to start a club.”

As a devoted Christian, Garcia received sponsorship from Adonai Christian Church, which she and many of Refuge’s members attend.

Garcia has several goals for the newly refocused club. She wants to share faith, give a place of refuge and have “Refuge” be known and available to all Pierce students.

Garcia said, “Refuge wants to be known.”

The members of Refuge would like to make a difference on campus and in the community.

The faculty advisor for Refuge is Robin Lindsey-Sawye, a general counselor at Pierce. Sawyer said her role is “to be a support for the group, listen, help and advise them.”

With 17 other clubs offered on campus sponsored, promoted, and governed by ASO, it’s about “Making a difference on campus life,” said Club Council Representative Artur Shmukler.

Currently, there are 25 active members with Refuge and 65 others who are seeking information and wanting to join.

A typical Refuge meeting starts with a verse from the Bible and then they reflect on mistakes previously made so they can learn from them.

Most of their club meetings though, are spent planning for future events.

Fun, education, and spreading faith are what Refuge seems to be all about.

Gurrola, who just joined Refuge just this semester, said “It’s great to see how diverse people interact as one…we work as a team with Refuge.”

Activities such as community service, group gatherings and social events are all plans on Refuge’s list.

An upcoming “Career Day” will be opened to all students at Pierce.

While the date has not yet been set, it will consist of industry professionals answering questions in fields such as psychology, medicine and real estate.

Refuge meets on Thursdays in the physics building 0913 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

From the left, Alvin Malave, 25, Guillermo Torres, 20, and Evelyn Blanco, 19, gather at a meeting of Refuge, formerly known as the Latinos with a Purpose club, which has recentered its efforts on its faith. ()