National Latino Peace Officers Association Surprises Students with Shopping Spree

National Latino Peace Officers Association Surprises Students with Shopping Spree

     The true spirit of giving was evident as the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) surprised several Monte Vista Elementary School students with a shopping spree at Target as part of their Operation Holiday Spirit.

    After a fun ride on a chartered bus from their school to the Rosemead Target store the excited students were paired up with a volunteer and given $75 to spend on their fun shopping experience.

       According to Lisa Garcia, president of the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of NLPOA, the group is happy to give back to the community and help kids. 

      “We feel an obligation to give back and mentor and support the youth in the community,” said Garcia.  “We hold several fundraisers throughout the year to fund events like this, as well as scholarships we give out.  This is our second time providing a shopping spree for students and it is heartwarming to see the kids so happy.”

      The smiles were abundant as students browsed the aisles in search of the items they wanted including games, toys, clothes, sports equipment, bikes and books.

       “I really, really want the video game Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and I can’t believe I can get it!” said Kevin, who was pacing as he waited for the video game case to be opened.  “It’s so nice of the Peace Officers to take us shopping,” he added.

         Volunteers came from a variety of organizations and included members of the police department, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), school teachers, high school students and many others who had a great time helping the students pick out just the right items.

     “This is great and I’m enjoying every minute of it,” said Rosendo Reyes, a volunteer from the VFW Post 12034 in Laverne.  “My shopping buddy is a great kid and I’m having a good time getting to know him and helping him pick out his items.”

     Anthony Chavez, a senior at Arcadia High School was more than happy to support the great event. 

      “To see the kids’ faces is priceless.  This is a great experience for both the students and the volunteers and I’m happy to be a part of it,” said Chavez as he helped his student, Sean with his bags.

       “I got a new jacket and some snacks,” said Sean.  “I really appreciate them taking us shopping.”

      In addition to selecting items for themselves, many students also had the giving spirit and purchased gifts for their siblings and family members.

      “This was such a fun surprise,” said Natalie and Stephanie.  “We thought we were in trouble when they called us out of class at school to go on the trip.  We got some clothes and pajamas, it was awesome.”

       Along with shopping support, the volunteers offered insight and wisdom for the young scholars. 

        “This experience was great,” said April, a sixth grader.  “Mr. Sanchez, my volunteer from the VFW gave me lots of tips for my future.  He told me to think about my future and work hard for what I want and to stay positive. He said the world belongs to me.”

        With their purchases in hand and joy in their hearts, the students headed back to the bus and before they boarded they were given an additional toy and goodie bag from the CHP. 

   The NLPOA’s motto is “Honoring Family, Education, and Community through Service and Mentorship." That was most definitely modeled at the Operation Holiday Spirit event and the Mountain View School District and Monte Vista School are extremely grateful to the NLPOA – San Gabriel Valley Chapter for their extraordinary kindness and generosity.


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