Texas State Bobcat makes impact in local community
According to Feeding America, in Hays County, 1 out of 7 residents is food insecure. This pandemic has shown humans are collectively supporting others in a time of massive vulnerability. Texas State Senior, Lauren Ashley Guzman, has been helping others throughout her college career. She immediately came to the aid of others as the pandemic hit Hays County.
Guzman was inspired to create an infographic about how Hays County residents could access local food resources. She first became aware of the food scarcity issue throughout Hays County when working for a 501C3 nonprofit group, Alma's Light. She researched the statistics surrounding the issue to develop infographic materials for the organization. As the number of laid-off workers increased rapidly, Guzman knew this number would worsen. She felt compelled to help others during this crisis.
Fear grew surrounding the immediate threat of shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions. Many local families were seeking guidance on Facebook. Guzman quickly noticed a variety of organizations providing food resources to San Marcos residents. She realized it would be most effective to post these resources on a single page and send it out.
Guzman has been working as the regional manager for Katy, Texas-based Alma's Light for the past year. Her latest project was the Backpack Dash, which was an effort to collect school supply donations. Her organization fundraised and accumulated 100 backpacks full of school supplies that were donated to De Zavala Elementary School in San Marcos, Texas. Guzman said that this role has allowed her to help others and grow in the process. Never before had she connected with business owners, talked with community members, worked with school district faculty, or applied for grand donations. She had also never run social media pages professionally or hosted fundraisers. Yet with this experience, Guzman was able to do it all with the help of an amazing team.
Guzman said, "Office Depot was a great partner in hosting our fundraising events, which helped us get the community involved. The San Marcos Daily Record also wrote a story on our efforts."
As a young regional manager, Guzman hopes to learn from her experiences and use that knowledge to continue helping others. Her dream is to work for the San Antonio Spurs' nonprofit Silver and Black Give Back. Her infographic has helped hundreds in the community since she posted it in local Facebook groups on March 25. She also sent it to several faculties at Texas State University to distribute as they saw fit. Guzman said it is a humbling experience realizing her contributions have impacted lives.
As her college career comes to an end, her aid will be noticed by future employers. However, Guzman also has aspirations to be a published author. She hopes to publish a fiction novel by the end of the year. In the past 3 years, Guzman has developed a strong connection with the city of San Marcos and Texas State University.
"Texas State has always felt like a home for me to grow in. Finding solace in this university has enabled me to be open to people and seek mentorship from the faculty," Guzman said. She has credited professors like Debra Price and Dr. Ronald Angelo Johnson in her success throughout her college career. She said these professors have helped build her confidence. Dr. Johnson helped Guzman grow as a writer. Guzman cited that Debra Price's Advance Social Media class helped develop her social media skills throughout her time at Alma's Light. Every semester Guzman has been on the Dean's List and holds a Texas State GPA of 3.95. She is also a member of the Council of Scholars.
The pandemic has made Texas State students switch to online courses. Guzman has handled the adjustment of switching to online work and school gracefully.
"I am grateful to still have a job online with the Student Learning Assistance Center as a history supplemental instructor. My professors have been very gracious in adjusting their syllabi and providing helpful resources," Guzman said.