Interact

Interact President Rosa Leon speaks to the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club on Jan.2 about a diaper drive to collect items for a women’s shelter in the Coachella Valley.

Rosa Leon is giving back to Shelter from the Storm, the women’s shelter that cared for her and her mom and sister when they needed help from abuse.

“When I was 4, my mom took me and my sister to the shelter,” said Rosa, now 17 and a senior at Beaumont High School.

Rosa is president of the service club Interact this year and she decided to help out the non-profit organization that provides for victims of domestic violence.

Shelter from the Storm is located in the Coachella Valley.

Rosa, her sister and mom stayed at the Shelter from the Storm for a week or two before a friend gave them a place to live with them.

Rosa said that she remembers all three of them suffered physical and emotional abuse from her father.

The domestic violence began when her sister was born and continued after Rosa was born four years later.

When Rosa was in seventh grade, her family moved to Beaumont because her mother married her stepfather.

Rosa attended San Gorgonio Middle School and now attends Beaumont High School, where she became involved with Interact her freshman year.

Rosa said she did not share with anyone about her personal life, but her older sister told Interact adviser Bruce Murrill.

Rosa tries not to dwell on that part of her life. “It’s just something that happened in my life,’’ she said.

When Interact was coming up with ideas for a project, Rosa really wanted to work on this with the club.

Rosa said she spoke with the receptionist at Shelter from the Storm, and later Beaumont High School administration officials.

“I did and they were pleased to hear that, [I wanted to work on the project]” she said.

Through Rosa’s project, Interact is collecting a variety of items through Feb. 12 for Shelter from the Storm. The shelter has a wish list on their website.

Rosa said they began collecting items two weeks ago, which was around the time she also spoke to the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club about the project.

Diapers are a huge necessity and Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club President Elizabeth Gibbs said it would be too hard for the kids to collect boxes of diapers.

So, Rotary is conducting a diaper drive for them.

The goal is to collect 2,500 diapers, Gibbs said. It can cost $26 per box, with 64 diapers inside, which is too costly for the group.

She is relying on Rotarians to come through with donations of diapers. “We have 23 members and we will have at least 30 boxes,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs is hoping for 50 to 75 boxes.

Rosa has been collecting toothbrushes and toothpaste. Other items welcome for women and children are: socks, underwear, tennis shoes, over-the-counter medications, non-violent videos, blank journals, diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, baby blankets and cribs.

For a full list, go to Shelter from the Storm’s Facebook page.

Rosa and the Interact members will deliver all of the new items to Shelter from the Storm on Feb. 14.

Rosa said they have about 10 boxes of diapers so far.

If you would like to donate, message Rosa at: leon02rosa@gmail.com.

Rosa said that domestic violence needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

“This is a huge issue that really impacts our community,” she said.

Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

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