Garcia on a mission to be the voice for women veterans

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In the distance, Hope Garcia, speaks at a Veterans Day event on campus.

Sebastian Echeverry, News/ Managing Editor

Commissioner of Convocation and Fine Arts Hope Garcia entered the Ms. Veteran America fundraising competition to raise money for homeless female veterans and compete to be the main voice for organizations such as Final Salute Inc. and Ms. Veteran America.

Students can donate and help with the cause too by going to www.crowdrise.com/MVA2015HOPEG and donating whatever sum they desire.

She served 11 years in the United States Navy and is a full-time student at Cerritos College.

When she is not helping both fellow veterans and students with campus needs, she is tending to her husband and two sons back home in Pico Rivera, Calif.

Garcia said, “When I went to the leadership conference with ASCC, we had a Ted Talks.

“(We) got out these cards that read ‘because I said I would’ and it’s like a promise that you make to someone or yourself.”

With the Ted Talk, Garcia looked for something she could do to give back, give even more than what her service gave.

“I actually heard about this about a month and a half ago through other military members that I’ve been associated with,” she said.

According to Garcia, it is a campaign as well as a competition to be an advocate for homeless women veterans.

In May all the contestants in the west coast will compete regionally in Las Vegas.

Those on the east coast compete regionally in June in Virginia.

Then, the 25 finalists will meet in Washington D.C. in October.

The winner is crowned advocate for the following year for Final Salute Inc. and Ms. Veterans America.

“I got really strong minded about this,” Garcia said.

“Because before I went into the military and I myself was homeless at one point,” she added.

She said that there are over 55,000 homeless women veterans, including women and children at any given time.

During the Board of Trustees meeting that took place Jan. 22, Garcia received a $500 donation from Edward Hernandez.

Veterans Resource Center counselor Felipe Salazar has seen the determination Garcia has shown to the student body and the veteran community.

“She’s been really involved in the campus,” Salazar said. “I know she really wants to make a difference here on campus and be a positive voice for veterans here on campus.”

ASCC Senator Joseph Fierro witnessed the purpose of this fundraiser after Garcia gave a presentation to the ASCC senate meeting that took place Jan. 28.

“I think it’s overall a great thing she is doing,” Fierro said.

He said this fundraising cause is not based on her but on her will to help others, she was once in that position.

“There are a lot of homeless people, you can see them under bridges, who is going to speak out for them?” Garcia said.