Helping Hands: Be the Change Permian Basin
Be the Change Permian Basin is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating a positive shift in youth culture.
"Our mission is to empower students to be the change they desire to see in the world," Executive director Wesley Don Juan said.
Be the Change visits a few local schools each year to give students a day-long program that rocks their worlds. After winter break, the group stopped by to work with OCTECHS students.
"We were put into groups and I actually made a lot of friends that I keep in touch with," student Kalyssa Castillo said.
"I feel like we just came closer together, because now we know what [our classmates] have gone through. We can understand their life a little more." Stephanie Alvarado added.
"They let you share your emotions," student Angel Ortiz explained. "They let you have your emotions, I guess you could say, instead of leaving it all in."
The OCTECHS students are talking about Challenge Day - a day that takes students through different group activities that helps them build bridges of unity and respect for one another.
"Challenge Day is pretty much just a social-emotional workshop," Don Juan explained. "The point of it is to get students to feel. It's not this touchy-feely thing, but it's this thing where it shows students, 'hey, whatever you're going through, you're not alone.'"
He said Be the Change Permian Basin is always in need of community leaders and role models to work with students on program days.
"We need one adult for every four students. We serve about 100 kids every challenge day - that's a need of about 30 adults per day," Don Juan said.
If you're interested in volunteering with be the change, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
"I feel like it's something that is meant for everybody - even if you feel like it's not," OCTECHS student Stephanie Dominguez said. "I feel like I'm able to smile more, be able to talk to different people that I didn't before. Now, I see people the way I see myself. I'm glad things like [Be the Change] exist, because they're opportunities for us to expand out mindset and helps us grow as people."