New York Film Academy Acting for Film alumnae Laura Gudino, Diana Perez and Diana Valencia have spent the last few weeks organizing relief efforts for the victims of the Mexico earthquake. The actresses set up a donation center in downtown Los Angeles and worked round the clock organizing and packing goods that were then sent to the earthquake-stricken areas of Mexico.
NYFA sat down with these incredible ladies for a full account of their experience.
NYFA: How did you start your donation center?
It started as an idea of 7 Mexican friends (Diana Valencia, Laura Gudiño, Nitzia Chama, Diana Pérez, Armando Bernal, Mauricio Guzmán & Katia S.T.) who were completely heartbroken after the consecutive earthquakes that hit our beloved country. We were looking for a way to help and after some investigation, we discovered there were no donations centers in LA. With the help and generosity of the owner of Patrón Envíos and Shiff Cargo, Armando Bernal, we opened a donation center in Downtown LA. After that, social media helped us spread the word.
NYFA: Did you decide to start it together and how did that come about?
It was September 19th, we were all in different parts of California talking to each other, asking about our families, and trying to be super active on social media, sharing information and contacting people. The day after the earthquake, we met at the shipping company and we started to make a list of what kinds of goods were we going to ask people to donate; we created a work schedule and worked on getting the word out. That night, September 20th, we had a flyer that was sent as public posts in social media and the response was incredible. The first 24 hours we had tons of boxes, volunteers, news reporters, and radio phone calls. It was beautiful.
NYFA: What has been the most challenging and rewarding parts of these efforts? –
The most challenging part was enduring the long hours of work. That was the only hard part because there were definitely more rewards. There was so much generosity from the community, celebrities, reporters, TV channels, radio channels, and even companies. People in the donation center became friends, and the energy from morning to sundown was amazing. There were chants, laughter, and cheers. We were able to put together four trailers full of clothes, food, water, medical equipment, medicine, tools, apart from being full of love, hope and strength. The organization that we were able to partner with is Caravana de Amor which took the charge of receiving the donations in Morelos, Mexico and distributed them to those in need. The person in charge of that organization is the writer and radio & TV host, Carlos Márquez.
NYFA: How can people continue to help? Are there any non-profits or other organizations you recommend donating to? –
People can continue helping in many ways. Our donation center is closed but there are many organizations like UNICEF, Cruz Roja Mexicana.
You can follow Diana, Laura, and Diana’s efforts on their official Instagram account, @la4mexico.