Morristown, N.J. (October 20, 2017) – Junior Jessica Torres is ensuring that children affected by HIV/AIDS have a memorable Halloween this year. In conjunction with her capstone honors class and the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children (ARFC) in Newark, N.J., Torres is helping to organize a trunk-or-treat at CSE.
On October 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Saint Joseph Hall Conference Room and the Motherhouse, dozens of these children will come to CSE to participate in autumn-themed festivities largely facilitated through Torres's efforts. The main event, trunk-or-treating, is a spin on the traditional trick-or-treating except costume clad children go car-to-car instead of door-to-door. This is largely due to safety concerns in their own neighborhoods.
"Trunk or treating will be a chance to take kids away from their less than ideal situations and allow them to have fun and experience the holiday in a safe space," says Torres.
Torres, who volunteers regularly with her family, was able to secure donations of pumpkins from local New Jersey farms, small toys from Oriental Trading Company and, of course, tons of candy and desserts from Stop & Shop.
"I just love Halloween, and if we can give the kids one really great day to forget all their problems, then it's beyond worth it," says Torres, who also balances CSE classes with working as a paraprofessional and special education substitute teacher in Woodbridge Township. "I just want to give them everything I can."
The AFRC is a non-profit organization intent on promoting health, family, compassion and advocacy about HIV/AIDS. They do this by providing transitional housing for medically fragile children, running enrichment programs for families, enabling support services and case management and much more.
Helping children is nothing new for Torres, who is double majoring in communication and education at CSE in order to become a special education teacher.
"My classes at CSE have taught me the importance of communicating in different ways," says Torres. "This is especially applicable when working with special education students because they need to communicate in different ways. CSE has taught me how to step outside the box and help in the most effective way possible."
After graduation, Torres plans to continue exploring her passion for volunteerism and education.
Learn more about CSE's education program here: www.cse.edu/education and communication program here: www.cse.edu/communication.