Student Starts Effort To Help Classmates, Staff Affected By Fires

By Eloísa Ruano González
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A student entrepreneur who has already found success with her booming Cheesecake business in using her entrepreneurial skills to help raise money for people affected by last month’s devastating wildfires.

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Anamaria Morales, the 19-year-old who propelled herself into business studies as the “College Confectionista,” a cheesecake business she started in her senior year at El Molino High School, is now whipping up a project to help Santa Rosa Junior College students and employees affected by last month’s wildfires.

The teenage entrepreneur is selling baseball caps that read “SO-CO STRONG,” which she designed to raise money for low-income Hispanic students, faculty and staff members who lost homes in the fires.

Morales said she wanted to help low-income students after noticing some hadn’t received much aid despite losing everything in the fires.

“I myself am a low-income Hispanic student. I know money is hard to find, especially in college,” said Morales, who’s in her second year at the junior college.

She drove around to various fire stations to have firefighters sign most of the 100 forest green-colored hats she had made, which she’s selling for $25. She said the hats are more “personal,” with signatures from the men and women who risked their lives battling the blazes.

While the fires spared her Healdsburg home, she said some of her relatives weren’t as fortunate.
“An aunt and uncle lost their home. Another aunt lost her home, and (I have) another uncle who lost his home. There was a lot devastation…,” Morales said.

The fires destroyed the homes of 63 faculty, staff members and administrators. About 900 students also lost their homes, said Breanne Beseda, communications director for the SRJC Foundation, which set up a fire relief fund. It has raised more than $440,000 for those who lost homes, including $100,000 each from the foundation and the North Bay Fire Relief fund, spearheaded by the Redwood Credit Union, state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and The Press Democrat.

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