May 21, 2014 11:15 AM
You could say Simeon Allison is an avid walker. In just a few weeks he plans to trek 600 miles across Spain, but the shorter trip he plans to make this Saturday is a bit closer to the heart. Simeon is trying to raise $3,000 for the Mi C.A.S.A. after school program in Gridley. He says he's seen a vast improvement in many of his own students that have gone through the program.
"I see the benefits in my own classroom. I see the inspiration that they have, not only on an academic level but on a civic and social level," he says.
As part of Simeon's journey to raise money for the Mi C.A.S.A. after school program, he plans to walk roughly 31 miles from Casa Ramos in south Chico all the way to Casa Lupe on Highway 99 in Gridley. The tutoring program first started in 2000 as part of No Child Left Behind, but when Mi C.A.S.A. lost its federal aid in 2004 volunteers had to seek out donations to keep the program running. Retired teacher Kathy McKenzie helped build the program from the ground up. It mainly helps low income farm labor families in the Butte County Housing Authority neighborhood.
"At that time, there was a lot of trouble with vandalism and drugs. It was the gang recruitment center in this south Butte County area," says McKenzie.
The enrichment program has seen tremendous growth in its 14 year history, and so have its students.
"Since most of their parents don't speak any English and didn't go to school, most of these kids were in the bottom 10-20% of their class. Now, one of our students is in the top 10 in their senior class," says McKenzie.
About 60 to 80 kids a day come through the program to get help with reading, writing and math. Once they have moved on to high school or college many of them come back to become mentors themselves. The money that Simeon hopes to raise from his walk will go towards supplies and educational trips for Mi C.A.S.A. He hopes that the inspiration he's received will be spread throughout the North State.
"To see these kids that work so hard from K-8th grade is inspiring to me, and to know what they've gone through and what their parents have gone through," says Allison.
Simeon will be making his 50k journey this Saturday. If you'd like more information on Mi C.A.S.A. or how to donate to the walk just click on Newslinks.
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