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Chalk it up to helping women Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Mar 17 2012 12:00 PM

Southwestern College is having its sixth annual street chalk festival this month.

The event is an artistic mixture of art and community involvement to raise money for the college’s Women’s Resource Center scholarships.

Brenda Mora is the college’s publications associate who created the event six years ago. Mora is also a local and national chalk artist who was raised in a single-parent household.

“I wanted to start this event because I wanted to raise funds for scholarships,” she said.
Last year the event raised approximately $4,000 for both days.

Diana Avila is in charge of the center and is the counselor coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center.

The center provides information on academic matters, student services, crisis assistance, childcare, health, legal advice, housing and job/employment.

Avila said the center acts as a doorway to college for women who have struggled with getting resources.

She said it’s a challenge to get single parents to apply for scholarships because they must write personal and career statements about obstacles they have overcome.

Lamun Sellers is one of the center’s recent success stories after winning multiple scholarship awards, including the prestigious Soroptimist award for her efforts toward education as a single mom.

“When I started to apply for the Soroptimist, I didn’t want to apply because I didn’t want anyone to know about me,” Sellers said. “I wrote about my childhood and what I went through when I was young and what I am going through today.”

Sellers didn’t win the first time, but applied again the next year and won $3,000.

Sellers, 34, grew up in Thailand and moved here in 2004 with her ex-husband.

She has received services from the center since 2008 and is a single mom of a 3-year-old daughter.

Sellers is from a village called Ban Muang Kao in northeastern Thailand and said she is educating herself for the people from her village and her daughter.

Sellers has attended Southwestern since the spring of 2007 and is finishing her prerequisite for a nursing degree this year. She said the decision was sparked by her aunt’s unexpected death.

 “People get sick and die because they didn’t have proper healthcare,” she said. “I want to be in a place where I can organize nurses and doctors to go to poor countries to diagnose them — to educate people about how important it is for them to seek help.”

When Sellers moved here, she was extremely self-conscious but said her view of herself has changed dramatically from the person she once was.

“Today I believe in myself more than I used to,” she said. “I am a strong woman with self-confidence. I can do what I want to do and go where I want to go.”

“I got so much help from the women’s resource center,” Sellers said. “Without them I would be lost. They help me emotionally, physically, academically.”

The festival runs Wednesday and Thursday, March 21 and 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, at the main walkway in front of the Cesar E. Chavez Student Services Building.

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