The real estate agents and managing broker of the Windermere La Quinta office adopted the fourth grade class of the Oasis Elementary School in Thermal, California, for the last three years in a row. The school is located 23 miles south of the Windermere La Quinta office.
“Oasis has a brand new school—thanks to the tenacity of its spirited principal, Elizabeth Ramirez—but that doesn’t alter the fact that the students are primarily the children of migrant workers and endure the concomitant obstacles—poverty, lack of stability, illiteracy. The average annual household income in the area is only $10,000,” says Windermere La Quinta Realtor® Mary MacGregor. “After three years of sponsoring classes, the kids at Oasis Elementary know that the 4th grade is special. Windermere agents visit throughout the school year, dispensing small gifts, leading craft projects and bearing Christmas bounty.”
La Quinta Realtor® Mary Pat Anderson spearheaded the program back in 2007 and enlisted the support of her fellow agents who eagerly embraced the opportunity to give back to the community in such a meaningful way. “The support the agents in our office have given this project is amazing,” says Anderson. “Most of these children have so little that the smallest token becomes a treasure to them. Their smiles and gratitude are the rewards that keep us coming back.”
“We raise money doing a variety of things during the year,” says Managing Broker Sandy Beakey. “To buy the supplies we save hundreds of dollars with coupons from local stores and redeem printer cartridges donated by individual agents, among other things.”
Last year agent Mary Beth Youngquist solicited hotel toiletries from Fantasy Springs Casino and each child was given a hefty bag of soaps and shampoos to take home. Every agent contributes in their own unique way. All of the agents bring back soaps when they travel, as well.
In the summer, the funds are used to set up a food bank for the school. “We buy rice, beans, canned chicken, canned tomatoes and large baggies so that the families can take home what they need for the summer to help feed their families,” says Beakey. Beakey also personally matches some of the funds donated by the agents throughout the year.
When the school year starts, the children receive back-to-school supplies. At Christmas a soccer ball and individually wrapped gifts are given to each of the 75 children. “For some of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive during the Christmas season,” notes Anderson. “Some students even take their presents home to give to their parents.”
“I’m always struck by how polite and well mannered the students are when we visit,” adds MacGregor. “According to Vice Principal Richard Timentel, inculcating teacher respect is the number-one goal. Timentel—himself a migrant worker’s son who attended the original Oasis grammar school—is a bona fide success story, matriculating at Notre Dame before returning to run his childhood school.”
The agents in the La Quinta offices can be contacted at the 47-250 Washington Street and 78065 Main Street Suite 100, La Quinta, Ca. 92253 or phone (760) 564-9685 or (760) 564-5841.