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WHS students at the Nobles County Integration Collaborative are hosting a Zumbathon fundraiser today at the St. Mary’s gym from 6 to 8 p.m. for the Change Starts with You project, which is sending care kits to families in Venezuela. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

Change starts with you

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WORTHINGTON — Students from Worthington High School (WHS) who are involved in the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) are hosting a fundraiser to send care kits to families in Venezuela as part of the “Change Starts with You” project. They will have a Zumbathon fundraising event from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the St. Mary’s gymnasium, 1206 Eighth Ave.


The “Change Starts with You” project was started after students listened to a powerful story from a Venezuelan woman who talked about the hardships occurring in the country.

“I watched a little bit about it on the news,” said Jisell Euceda, a 10th-grader at WHS. “The woman talked about how Cuba wants to take over Venezuela, so there are people protesting, and their government has started hurting people because of it.”

“One of the main ways the government punishes the protesters is they use gas bombs, so (in the kits) we are including gas masks,” said Jessica Velasco, youth development leader at the NCIC. “Another example as to what the government is doing is they are forcing the people to ration basic household items... For example, people are only allowed to buy one bar of soap a month.”

“That’s why we’re fundraising household items instead of money — because even if we sent them money, they couldn’t spend it on things they need,” Velasco added.

The “Change Starts with You” goal is to provide 250 kits and ship them off by May 30.

“We had a couple fundraising ideas. One was a garage sale, and at first we also wanted to do a car wash, but due to the water ban we had to be a bit more creative and come up with something else,” Velasco said. “I teach Zumba classes as well, so we thought of a black light Zumbathon.”

Velasco said the Zumbathon will be a festive event featuring glow sticks, face painting, neon colors and lots of dancing.

“It will be like a two-hour dance party, but when people need a break, we will have a variety of vendors like Thirty-One, Origami Owl and Scentsy at the fundraiser,” Velasco said.

“We’re accepting donations of household items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, things like that,” Velasco said. “We really want this to be a community effort.”

The group also hopes to connect with students from Venezuela to assist them in this difficult time.

“Teens here face problems, but I think the issues that those kids are facing are more extreme, and we want to provide help,” Velasco said.

Students involved in the “Change Starts with You” project are enthusiastic and want to help as many families as possible.

“Just knowing that you helped someone is a great feeling,” said 10th-grader Lolis Vasquez.

Donations of household items will be accepted May 30 and can be dropped off at the NCIC at the West Learning Center, 117 11th Ave.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.