(KLST/KSAN) — The Lake View High School Spanish Club has been around for two decades.

The club sponsor, Lorie Castanuela-Thiers, said through the club, students learn about the Hispanic culture, while also giving back to the community.

“We start in October, we start with our blood drive, we have a fall and spring blood drive,” Castanuela-Thiers said. “In December we have so many projects because we like to give back to the elderly. We do Christmas gifts for the elderly. We adopt a mom, sometimes it’s two or three moms if we can afford it. We do a little toy drive, we actually take the toys down to like a local Walmart because they are doing the toys for the marines, the Toys for Tots.”

Castanuela-Thiers said through that community service, the students see, firsthand, some of the struggles the Hispanic community deals with.

“The Hispanic Culture is one that does not want to actually ask for help, so we try to help them because there is this huge need, and so those are the kids that are like, oh we are kind of giving back to our own race,” Castanuela-Thiers said.

She said this has made them want to step up within the community.

“I’ve even had a few students who say now that we’ve worked with elementary kids and now that we’ve seen what’s out there this has even given me an opportunity to see what I want to do in life,” Castanuela-Thiers said. “I’ve had a few former students who have said now I want to be a teacher, which is great that’s amazing. And I have had a few students who say now I want to be more involved in my church or any other organization that gives back to the community because it makes them feel great to actually give back.”

Castanuela-Thiers said throughout the years as both teacher and sponsor of the Spanish club, she has learned it is important to share the pride she has in her own culture, because it shows students to love themselves and their roots.

“I see the need so much in today’s society that we need to embrace our own culture and so I try to tell the kids that don’t be ashamed of anything or where your background is coming from because that makes you a better-rounded person so I like to show that pride, and so when I show my pride then they want to share their pride as well,” Castanuela-Thiers said.