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Sisters get grant to ‘care’ for those affected by pandemic

Two Boulder City sisters are helping people get exactly what they need as they cope with negative affects of the pandemic.

Martha and Julia Gomez, students at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, recently received a special fellowship and $5,000 grant from California nonprofit, the Dragon Kim Foundation, to complete their Partners through the Pandemic project.

Martha Gomez, a senior, came up with the idea after her English teacher assigned her to create a proposal for a community service project.

She said one day she was eating out in town with her mom, and her mom told her to leave a generous tip for the server because they had been hit really hard financially during the pandemic.

“I just remember thinking, there’s something I can do to help … Boulder City,” said Martha Gomez. “I love Boulder City.”

She then came up with the idea to create care packages tailored to the specific needs of those receiving them. For example, people with small children could receive diapers and wipes. Homeless people could get food and toiletries. The care packages could also include pet items, disinfectant wipes and nonperishable food.

“They would ideally be things that have … a long shelf life,” said Martha Gomez.

The care packages would be available to anyone who has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

She also decided to bring her sister, Julia Gomez, a sophomore, into the project.

“I decided to take part in this project, joining Martha, because of how dedicated Martha was … . I, too, agreed with this idea, so it only made sense to help my sister try and solve this problem,” she said.

They also decided to name the project Partners through the Pandemic to be symbolic of their assistance to help people get through the hardships.

Around the same time she came up with the idea, Martha Gomez said she heard about a grant program through the Dragon Kim Foundation and decided to apply for it.

The Dragon Kim Foundation was founded by Daniel and Grace Kim, whose son, Dragon, was killed in an accident in 2015. Every year it awards $5,000 grants to students who want to create community service projects. Each grant comes with a fellowship for the students to give them the connections and resources they need to make their project happen.

“We ask, ‘If money wasn’t an issue, what community service would you do?’” said Daniel Kim.

He said this year the foundation is giving out grants for 28 projects and for the first time awarded several to students outside of California.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have three projects in Nevada,” he said.

Daniel Kim said the students are assigned a mentor and put through three weekends of intensive training to finalize the details of their project after being accepted into the program.

“They are responsible for putting together a plan and a budget. … They go through all that and then we give them the grant money,” he said.

“This award exemplifies the spirit of service that we advocate for our students to develop as they mature into well-rounded young adults,” said Brian Downey, member of the LVA development office. “We are incredibly proud of Julia and Martha for representing LVA as great students and global citizens.”

“My sister and I are hoping that people in Boulder City will see that others are willing to help, even during unprecedented times,” said Martha Gomez. “As well, we would love to think we inspire others to help one another in this community, whether or not a global pandemic is present.”

She said if anybody needs help, they can reach out by emailing her and Julia at martha.and.julia.pdtp@gmail.com. In the email, they should state their name, situation and phone number. Then, the Gomez sisters will reach out to them.

She said they are hoping to give out the care packages in the summer.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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