Valencia practices what they preach
Krystal Pherai is a true example of putting your money where your mouth is! Krystal – Staff Assistant at Valencia College’s Peace and Justice Initiative (PJI) and Coordinator of the PJI Ambassadors since 2011 – took a course in the College’s Peace studies curriculum four years ago and got hooked on the message and goals of the Initiative. She got so hooked, in fact, that although she’s now a UCF student, Krystal still holds her position at Valencia and is quite passionate about it!
“I think it’s beautiful how inclusive our program is,” explains Krystal. “I love feeling that my voice is valued and I know I won’t be judged. We have 13 principles for how we treat each other; and I know the group practices what we preach.”
With PJI’s aim of nurturing “an inclusive, caring and respectful environment…” and a mission that includes “Making a difference…” and “honor the dignity of self, others, and the earth…,” the Initiative provides their Ambassadors with opportunities to give back to the community in a manner that promotes “…compassion and dignity for all earthlings…”
Coalition for the Homeless is fortunate to be the recipient of the kindness and principles of this caring program, as well as the commitment and energy of the students involved. For over 10 years, the Initiative has sponsored a Fall Festival and a Spring Fling on our main campus. The events provide our single women and families a day of fun activities, games and snacks, as well as a respite from thinking about their present crisis of homelessness.
This year’s Fall Festival is right around the corner on Saturday morning, October 25th. We can hear the buzz of anticipation in the hallways of our Center for Women and Families and know the event will be another roaring success!
“At Valencia, we value service,” said Krystal. “We can really see how a fun event like the Fall Fest and Spring Fling positively affects our neighbors without homes. The kids as well as the adults benefit from these service projects. I just love when parents ask me if they can wear the bunny ears our group passes out to the children. It makes the adults happy and I’m happy because they are given a day not to worry.”
Thank you to Krystal, Program Coordinator Rachel Allen, and all the wonderful Valencia students who support us year after year. What an amazing program!