BU Supports Corazón de Dahlia in Peru

Since Dahlia Rissman Graham’s first information session at Binghamton University in March 2011, students, faculty, and staff have found many ways to get involved in supporting the BU alumna's non-profit organization, The Corazón de Dahlia Center for the Promotion of Child & Family Development in Saylla, PeruThe Corazón de Dahlia Center works to provide children and families with opportunities for social and academic enrichment through social development, cultural awareness, literacy proficiency, and mental health.

Dahlia returned to Binghamton in September to give a second information session, which attracted over 20 interested students and solidified the student participation of BU this year.

I was honored to share my experience with Binghamton students, and awed by the positive response from both the students who attended the information session, and the staff in the CCE office," Dahlia said.
BU's participation efforts began with staff members in the Center for Civic Engagement, who quickly connected with Dahlia and the organization. Two staff members, Christie Zwahlen of the CCE and Kerry Cook of the Office of International Programs, now serve on the Advisory Board for Corazón de Dahlia. In June and September 2011, Dr. Allison Alden, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, and Kerry Cook traveled to Peru to visit the Center and connect with local organizations and the community.

Early in the Fall semester, a group of senior Bioengineering students began working on a proposal to design a water filtration for Saylla, Peru, as their senior capstone design project. On November 30th, the CCE and several student groups hosted a Casino Game Night that raised nearly $300 to support the project. The Bioengineering group presented their proposal, "Water Filtration System for a Rural Village in Peru (Saylla)," on December 8th.

During International Education Week, November 14-18th, the Center for Civic Engagement’s Service Ambassadors, the Discovery Center, the Jewish Community Center, and Resident Assistants in Newing College hosted a school supply drive to donate to the Center. A group of CCE Service Ambassadors volunteered at the Discovery Center and the Jewish Community Center to teach the children about Corazón de Dahlia and participate in a craft project making Peruvian masks. 

Students in Hinman College also helped fundraise for Corazón de Dahlia. Between an event held by two Resident Assistants and the Hinman College Council's second annual Holiday Party, Hinman residents raised a total of $200 for Corazón de Dahlia through donations, a bake sale, and jewelry-making tables using beads from Peru. 

Corazón de Dahlia also has two interns on campus in social media and marketing and program support. Both interns have worked closely with the CCE Service Ambassadors as well as with the organization itself to make many of the events held this semester greatly successful.
Most recently, paper company MeadWestvaco generously donated over a year's supply of notebooks and folders to Corazón de Dahlia. The donation was made possible by connections in the CCE Advisory Council and the Southern Tier Opportunities Coalition (STOC).

In the Spring 2012 semester, students will be working to charter a student group dedicated to fundraising and advocacy for Corazón de Dahlia on campus through events, volunteering, and educational programs. Corazón de Dahlia is also looking for volunteers and summer interns in a number of areas, including accounting, marketing, public relations, and non-profit management in both the U.S. and in Peru, as well as donations through its Amazon wishlist. To find out more or sign up to volunteer, check out the Corazón de Dahlia website, or email corazondedahlia@gmail.com.

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