Today’s “Student Shout-Out” goes to Communication Studies major Alfonso Garcia and his work with Charity Super Sunday, M.O.B. Charities, and the California Donor Network! While I was cheering on my beloved Seattle Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl (I know, I hear either crickets or hisses since I am in 49er and Raider country), Alfonso was doing much more important and necessary work (after all, the Seahawks were so good, they didn’t really need my cheering). But to understand what Alfonso was doing, you need to hear a bit of the backstory…
Last fall, Alfonso took our COMS 204: Communication and Culture class. As all of our 204 alums know, the main project for the class is an ethnographic research project on a specific cultural group. Alfonso and his class project partner, Wes Mills, chose the Raider Nation Fan Base, “one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in America,” as Alfonso describes them. They specifically focused on M.O.B. Charities, a specific fan base of the Raider Nation. Here’s how Alfonso describes the experience: “At first the name M.O.B. was terrifying, but we later came to find out through our point of contact, Dr. Death (A Raider Fan/Character), that it really meant Making Oakland Better, Making Ourselves Better, and Making Others Better. M.O.B. Charities supports organizations and groups in Oakland and its surrounding areas with their one of a kind ‘All Weekend Tailgates’ for Raiders home games that begin Friday night and conclude shortly after the game ends on Sunday afternoon.” Wes and Alfonso eventually became “Official 66th Mobsters” by participating in an all-weekend tailgate!
Through his ethnographic research project, Alfonso got to know members of the M.O.B. Charities Raider Nation and that is how he ended up participating in Charity Super Sunday with them and working for a cause that Alfonso is passionate about: Organ Donation. Alfonso is an Ambassador for the California Transplant Donor Network, and he himself is a organ donation recipient. Since his transplant over four years ago, he has been working to raise awareness about organ donation and to sign people up to become organ donors.
I asked Alfonso to share with me what happened at the event: “The event was extraordinary. Regardless of what people’s preconceived notions of the Raiders may be, M.O.B. Charities is a stand out organization in Oakland, passionate about their Raiders and helping others. Rather than having an exclusive ‘Raiders fans only’ event for their Super Bowl viewing experience, they invited me to use their event to promote organ and tissue donation, a cause I’m heavily involved in. We had a few people stop by the M.O.B. Charities tent and learn more about the cause, but the opportunity was to teach people about M.O.B. Charities and the different causes and organizations they support such as the Stanford Hospital Ronald McDonald House Charities.
After the Super Bowl, they promised to have a larger organ and tissue donation event during the 2014-15 regular season. This would entail 3 full days of tailgating and sharing information about organ and tissue donation with Raider fans and fellow MOBsters.”
What an amazing story about how Alfonso took what started out as a class project, seemingly removed from his work on organ donation, and brought the two together in the most amazing of ways. Congratulations to Alfonso on his impressive work!
You can learn more about the California Transplant Donor Network here: http://www.ctdn.org/ and M.O.B. Charities here: http://www.the66thmob.com/index2.php/
Note: Sorry, I know the links above aren’t showing up. I can’t get them to work on the new blog interface. And the pictures would only appear at the top of the entry. Sigh…