When a Texas Southmost College alumni caught word of a Brownsville elderly family in need of assistance, he wasted no time jumping into action.

The home of 86-year-old Roberto Amaya became unlivable following a rainstorm that knocked out power to the home. Carlos Rodriguez, who has completed degrees in multiple CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs, called some of his former instructors to see if they would be able to lend a hand and some eager students.

First Construction Management students were on the scene on Loma Alta Street multiple times this month under the guidance of instructor Daniel Zuniga hammered and drilled and replaced a rotting wall.

Then, instructor Jorge Garcia’s Commercial and Residential Electrician students came in to replace the out-of-service electrical box on Sept. 19.

“I feel happy to be helping people from the community,” Juan Zavala, first-year electrical student said. “It’s hot out here but at the end of the day it’s worth helping and we’re learning as we do this.”

Zavala’s classmates replaced wiring under the supervision of their instructors, ran new cables and put it a lot of work to get the house ready for an inspection from the City of Brownsville who has the authority to turn the lights back on if the house is up to code.

Construction management student and Los Fresnos High School graduate Alexia Velazquez was also excited to be working alongside classmates for a great cause.

“I love that we get the experience to do this,” she said. “I know if I ever needed something done at my house my peers would help me. The work gets easier as you gain experience. And even if the work gets challenging it’s fun to utilize the skills we learn.”

Zuniga said that instilling a culture of service is something he tries to do with every class he teaches.

“Our students always want and need more hands-on experience,” Zuniga said. “I talk to every class about how their trade can be used to help whomever they’d like. Some people aren’t as fortunate, and these students will be able to earn money in their careers but also help others where they can.”

He went on to say there is a contagious element to having altruistic students in class.

“I always have a good group of students. Right now, we have two veterans who spend a lot of time volunteering and donating their money and time to help. That catches on with everyone. They are a little bit older than most students.”

“It means a lot to us,” Selene Amaya, daughter of the home’s owner said. “This is a huge blessing for all of my family. This happened all of a sudden and just like that people were coming to help us. It’s just a huge miracle and a blessing.”

For more information about Construction Technology, you can contact Daniel Zuniga at 956.295.3543
or via e-mail at [email protected]

For more information about Commercial and Residential Electrician, you can contact administrative assistant Nancy M. Cortez at 956.295.3745 or via e-mail at [email protected]