Pueblo’s Clothing Bank: Open For Business, Open For Donations

By Saul Arias & Aubrey Garcia

Ms. Sandra Swiderski with Senior Christopher Marquez in the Clothing Bank

The clothing bank at Pueblo High School was created eight years ago as a government funded student to work program.

Ms. Sandra Swiderski stays busy with preparing students for a job by giving them retail and sales experience.

“The clothing bank is completely student operated, but it can only be open if I’m there in the room,” Swiderski said. “If a student has an accident and needs a change of clothes—and if I’m not on campus—a monitor can open the door so he or she can get their needs.”

This PHS clothing bank is located on the south side of the T-Building, Room T-5 and is open to the public and Pueblo students. For students, the doors are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. For the public, the clothing bank is open from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30, Monday through Friday.

“On average 10 students and four people from the public come in each day,” Swiderski said. “Inventory is kind of low right now, but we hope to change that with clothing drives this semester.

This program is dependent upon donations and encourages trades; to get clothing, students and the public should bring clothing to trade. They accept most types of clothing such as shirts, pants, shorts, and clothing accessories (belts, shoes). Used undergarments are not acceptable.

“The government buys underwear, socks, and many hygiene products,” Swiderski said. “We still depend upon donations for most everything else.”

Pueblo Community Makes New Year’s Resolutions For 2024

Compiled by Alyvette Moreno & Jenna Twaje

The New Year is upon us, as is the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Dragon!) on Feb. 10. There’s a lot to look forward to in ’24 including a Leap Year Day (Feb. 29), presidential primaries and the big election in November, the Summer Olympics and of course graduation day on May 23.

Every year, the Pueblo Community makes resolutions to better their lives. Here is a compilation of some of them:

Edward Gomez (senior): “I hope to commit to a sturdy career plan after high school.”

Alexis Campbell (counselor): “To exercise and spend more time with family.”

Dominic Arambula (freshman): “To lose more weight.”

Jose Alvarez (counselor): “Go camping once and return to hiking frequently.”

Cristain Portillo (senior): “To graduate this May!”

Nebai Merino (senior): “Invest in myself and my future.”

Tati Lopez (senior): “Be open to everything.”

Annluise Santos (senior): “Put myself first.”

Ms. Karla Martinez (Assistant Principal): “To say ‘I love you’ and ‘Thank you’ more often.”

Ms. Jeniffer Mayersohn (Assistant Principal): “To be a better person.”

Jasel Siliva (senior): “To draw more.”

Ruby Avyote (freshmen): “To not have too many absences.”

Mr. Simon Arrola (PHS Dean): “To make sure all my family members are safe and happy.”

Mr. Toby Manthai (social worker): “Spend less money and save more.”

Ricardo Alvarez (senior): “To learn more music theory.”

Ruben Arambula (junior): “To try harder in school.”

Mr. Rana Medhi (journalism teacher): “To commit to retirement—and to mean it this time!”

Kimora Wilson (junior): “I want to eat healthier.”

Adriell Salazar (sophomore): “To focus on my classes.”

Leodardo Santa Maria (junior): “To go to the gym more.”

Dr. Rosaria Hutchings: “Exercise more.”

Baiza Medeina (junior): “To work on myself.”

Juliana Baeverien (junior): “To better my health and myself.”

Mr. William Hill (English teacher): “To get more physically fit.”

Juju Ballesteros (senior): “To earn more money.”

Rodrigo Arcocha (freshman): “To earn straight A’s.”

Miriam Rivera (senior): “To actually show up to school every day.”

Andrew Chagolla (senior): “I want to try to enjoy life more.”

Giancarlo Jaimes (sophomore): “To earn better grades than last year.”

Thomas Almeida (junior): “To get my money up.”

Ylisses Ortega (freshman): “To stop saying the ‘N’ word.”

Lourdes Mendez (senior): “To save up money for a car.”

Ms. Marsha-Jean Burrola (PHS librarian): “To throw away extra items that I don’t need.”

‘Time To Start Fresh’

(Campus Monitor Receives Home Through HFH)

By Aubrey Medina & Rihana Medrano-Thompson

Campus Monitor Ms. Crystal Alvarado and her two sons moved into their new home during the holiday season, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.

Alvarado, who joined Pueblo’s security team last February, remained patient throughout the long process of qualifying for a new home.

“Once I was accepted [just nine out of 300 applicants], I actually worked 250 hours with the construction of the home,” Alvarado said. “My sons [Jacob and Estevan—a sophomore at Pueblo] weren’t eligible to help because they’re both younger than 16. They weren’t even allowed on the construction site.”

After all the sweat and body aches, Alvarado said the effort was “beyond worthwhile”.

“I have a home near Sentinel Peak [‘A’ Mountain] with a gorgeous view of the city,” she said. “Christmas this year was a little different—as we were moving and settling in.”

Alvarado finished her application to the Habitat for Humanity program a year ago, and “graduated” in July 2023 after meeting numerous qualifications. She found time on weekends and weekday evenings to meet the mandatory 250 hours of labor.

“There were a lot of times I just wanted to give up,” Alvarado said. “I didn’t, though. Working on the construction of my own home ended up being an accomplishment I’ll never regret.”

One of the many benefits of being a HFH recipient is not paying interest on a mortgage payment, saving the family tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.

The Alvarado’s said they plan to start off “fresh”—no old furniture, dishes, and other household items.

“We are starting off with just our clothes, a few television sets and my sons’ game consoles,” Alvarado said.

[Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976 by married couple Millard and Linda Fuller, is a partnership, not a giveaway program. Habitat’s homeowner families buy the houses that Habitat builds and renovates. Habitat homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor working alongside volunteers. As a result, Habitat for Humanity houses are affordable to low-income families around the world. The organization operates with financial support from national governments, philanthropic foundations, corporations and mass media companies. foundations.

Habitat directly helps more than four million people each year secure decent, affordable housing, and an additional eight million people now have the potential to improve their housing conditions through a range of indirect services. Our annual report provides full details.

Habitat for Humanity continues to build and renovate decent, affordable housing in all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 other countries.]

‘Project Contact’ Rolls Back To Pueblo Campus

By Victoria Cazares & Adam Bonillas

Pima County Health Services Van at Pueblo.

Project Contact has returned to Pueblo High School.

This service is an outlet to educate students about preventing sexually-transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy and to provide knowledge about having safe sex.

Nurse Kate Straub contacted this program to be a part of the Pueblo community as a way to keep our students safe and educated about sex.

“Project Contact is a fantastic!” said Straub. “This service reduces students’ chances of getting pregnant,” said Straub, “as well as keeping them informed about sexually-transmitted diseases.”

Project Contact is part of the Pima County Health Department and is on campus every second and fourth Monday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., located in a large RV in the southwestern part of the campus by the portables.

“Students can freely obtain information and get educated about sex, and so far this service has been a positive experience for students,” Straub said. “Hundreds of students have already taken advantage of Project Contact,” said Straub.

She added that this service provides free and confidential advice to students; contraception, condoms, and STD testing and treatment to all Pueblo students is available.

Students interested in visiting this service can sign up in the nurse’s office; students will be discreetly called out of class whenever the Project Contact RV is on campus.

Straub said, “Nobody is going to know your [students’] business, so there’s no need for anybody to feel embarrassed. Everything is confidential.”

A senior, who wishes anonymity, said she had a “very positive” experience visit to Project Contact.

She said, “These medical professionals were genuinely nice. I learned a lot during my visit and recommend that if students need this kind of advice or help to sign up for this free service.”

Straub said that she is planning to continue this program for as long as she can, labeling it “a great resource” for the Pueblo community.

“For now, Project Contact is here to stay,” she added.

This service is also available at TAPP (Teenage Parent Program) and Tucson High School.

“Project Contact would like to visit other schools—as the service will be available to anywhere if the program is embraced by schools’ administrators and nurses,” Straub said.

“I’m just happy that we are lucky enough to have this service available to our Pueblo community,” she said.

Keeping The Holidays Close To Home

By Yesenia Ybarra 

The spread of Coronavirus has increased rapidly in Pima County and throughout Arizona in the past several weeks, and this “second wave” is expected to bring even greater numbers of cases—even higher than the astronomical rates throughout last summer. 

As of Dec. 7, there have been 46,000+ confirmed cases in Pima County, which has a population of 1.1 million; more than 730 people in the Tucson metropolitan area have died as a result. 

In Maricopa County (including the Phoenix metropolitan area), the number of COVID-19 cases have surpassed 228,000 confirmed cases with more than 4,000 deaths. 

Arizona’s Coronavirus cases are nearing 337,000, with nearly 7,000 deaths in the past nine months. 

Health experts urged people to stay home during the Thanksgiving holiday and to keep gatherings at a “minimum”; many ignored those warnings, which explains the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases. With Christmas and New Year’s approaching quickly, the same warnings have been echoed—this time even louder. 

In her recent first State of the City address, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero stated, “After consulting with public health experts and local hospitals, we have determined that additional steps are necessary to control the surge of COVID-19 case.” 

Earlier this month, the Tucson City Council announced a curfew for the city of Tucson—urging residents to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. at least until Dec. 23. 

It will be up to Arizona residents to heed this advice. It is everybody’s responsibility to take Coronavirus seriously. 

Hospitals are at near-maximum capacity with COVID-19 patients, and during the flu season, which affects thousands of Arizonans every year during this time, hospitals need to have room for them. Also, there are thousands of residents in Arizona with serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, that need regular health care. If hospitals are maxed-out with COVID-19 patients, then those with other serious diseases will be in jeopardy. 

Doctors are going to be determining which patients die and which patients live, a most disturbing decision. If we all take responsibility for our own safety, then we could minimize the future spread of COVID-19. 

We’ve all been educated about how to stay safe in this era of COVID-19, but here are some reminders as we approach the holiday season: 

(1) Wear masks at all times in public places; ensure these masks completely cover the nose and mouth; 

(2) Keep at least six feet away from people; 

(3) Wash hands for at least 20 seconds as often as possible; 

(4) Keep gatherings at a minimum, and wear masks around people who do not live with you; 

(5) Avoid touching the face. 

It’s important that we all stay safe this holiday season. With promising vaccines in the horizon, our situation is not permanent. 

Our upcoming holiday/winter break is a great time for people to become creative and to start projects that have been on your bucket list for a while. Maybe it’s time to clean out that cluttered closet or garage or to paint your bedroom a different color… Before the pandemic, people complained they didn’t have enough time to get everything done. 

Maybe it’s time to get everything done.

COVID-19 Devastates Local Businesses

By Kevin Salazar and Jaime Montaño 

2020 has been a year that has changed many lives due to the outrageous outbreak of Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. This pandemic has had a profound impact on just about everyone, and this especially includes local businesses. 

Many shops in Tucson have had to shut down due to a lack of customers and economic problems due to this pandemic. This has especially affected smaller, independent businesses that relied on loyal patrons who are staying home, quarantining. 

“One way that I have been affected by COVID-19 is that I don’t get as many clients as before,” said Mr. Alberto Salazar, a barber from Tucson. “A lot of these people are afraid of coming into the barbershop to get a haircut and exposing themselves to the virus, although everything is clean. They are just simply afraid to go into a public place where different people come in daily.” 

COVID-19 has, in fact, affected barbering so much this past year that many barbershops have closed completely. Many barbers have had to quit their jobs due to little income. Barbers were not able to cut hair from their own home because they would get fined. Some businesses were allowed to open for a short time, but clients had to wear face masks, and barbers could not do their beards. Having facial hair cuts were, for some patrons, part of the process. Many patrons just stopped going to barbers altogether. 

Instructor for Fade Master’s Academy, Mr. Memo Kaphan, said, “The whole barber industry is hurting from something we can’t control, and all we can do is promote ourselves through this bad time. When everything is normal again, we will have hopefully experience a major boost in our business.’’ 

Although businesses are fervid about disinfection, many patrons are still afraid of contracting COVID-19. 

“We don’t sell as much [food] anymore,” said Mr. Riodel Salazar, a taco shop owner in Tucson. “The percentage of people who used to come before is very different than now. Not many families are seen, and the sales went down almost by half.” 

Tucson, obviously, is not the only American city to have been adversely affected by COVID-19. According to Yelp, more than 163,000 businesses have closed as result of the Coronavirus—nearly 100,000 of them permanently. 

“Let’s all hope this ends soon, and we can all go back to our normal everyday lives,” said Salazar.