Blenda Wright has volunteered with Southern California Housing Development Corporation (SCHDC), an affordable housing provider, since 1997 at the Rancho Verde Village Community in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Rancho Verde Village Apartments provide programs such as After-School Tutoring, English as a Second Language and an urban dance class free of charge to its residents and the surrounding community.
Wright was one of the first volunteers that SCHDC enrolled. Her love for children and education pulled her to the After School Tutoring Program, which was established in 1997. Wright is the first face that the children are excited to see after school. For many of them she is the only face they see because they are latchkey children. She immediately creates a comfortable environment for the children, which includes beanbag chairs and sofas. When one enters the serene learning environment, the sounds of classical music and laughter fill the air.
Although Wright’s first priority was and is always the tutoring program, she continues to assist with the summer lunch program, holiday events and field trips. She not only initiates the idea and chaperones the field trips, but also in many cases has assisted families financially so they are able to attend. Wright strives to give children new experiences that they may not receive without her. This included a recent field trip to play in the snow. As we all know Southern California is not an easy place to find snow, although many of us have taken trips to the local mountains or out of state to experience it. Most children at Rancho Verde Village are not able to do this for many reasons. This was until Wright helped to organize a trip that would take children to a place where they had a chance to do so. These children will never forget that trip, nor will they forget Blenda Wright.
The tutoring program has begun to develop into the more “formal” program that is currently in operation. Tutors are received in collaboration with local colleges and trained in tutoring techniques in the areas of reading and writing. Wright has embraced the new program and developed herself through the training with the other tutors. She is always concerned about what is best for “her children.” Every child that steps foot in the Learning Center becomes one of “Blenda’s children.” Everyone in the community knows, respects and loves Wright and the commitment she has to the children of Rancho Verde Village.
In total, over the course of three years, Blenda Wright has volunteered more than 1,000 hours with approximately 150 children and families of the Rancho Verde Village Apartments. She is the most dedicated volunteer at SCHDC.