Apr 23, 2019

Local organization hosts soccer fundraiser for student scholarships

The Education and Leadership Foundation (ELF) hosted a women’s soccer tournament Sunday as a fundraiser for its scholarship program.

The nonprofit organization began in 2007 with the mission to promote educational opportunities and leadership development for all students. It helps students with scholarships, internships and community service opportunities.

For this event, students and community members were invited to create teams for The Women’s Soccer Cup held at West Fresno Middle School.

The fee charged to all teams participating helped the Community Leader Scholarship Fund raise about $1,000 for its scholarship program.

The foundation encourages higher education opportunities within the communities.

“All students can apply,” said Gloria Baez, special event and fundraiser coordinator for the foundation. “We are an organization dedicated to all students. We mainly focus on low-income students because they are the most in need.

“Last May, we gave $143,000 in scholarships to about 93 students. These types of scholarships help them with part of their tuition or full (tuition),” she said.

Seven all-women teams and spectators gathered Sunday morning for a day of music, food and soccer.

Around 80 percent of participants were Fresno State students, said Arturo Rios, project specialist at ELF.

Rios created a team of his own after female friends wanted to play and needed a coach.

“It puts the community together and brings people together for the same cause, and at the same time you are having fun,” Rios said.

The seven teams consisted of Fresno State and Fresno Pacific students and friends.

“A lot of girls here are competitive, and others are just here for fun,” said volunteer Yadira Arreguin. “Some got tired, but it is all good for a cause.”

Arreguin, a child development major, has had first-hand experience with the help ELF provides to students. The organization helped her get an internship that would benefit her major.

“I am very thankful,” Arreguin said.” “Without ELF, I wouldn’t be doing all the internships I have done.”

“I would like the community to know about our mission because it’s not just the foundation’s mission, it should be everybody’s mission,” Baez said. “Education is the door to a person’s future.”

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