LSA45 Hosts “Be Engaged” Day

Even the thunderstorms rolling through Downtown San Antonio the morning of Wednesday, March 4th couldn’t dampen the community spirit of LSA2020’s class as they prepared for an amazing day of civic engagement.  The day entitled “Be Engaged” started with coffee and bagels as the class joyfully dropped off teddy bears for a mystery cause, then boarded the bus for a police-escorted jaunt to the AT&T Center. There they were welcomed by Tim Derk, the original Spurs Coyote.  Graham Weston, the co-founder of Rackspace, then discussed the importance of corporate responsibility, community service and leaving a legacy. To commemorate the day, the team commissioned a limited-edition print by acclaimed international contemporary artist, Cruz Ortiz, and presented one to Mr. Weston.

The class then participated in a pitch-activity hosted by Pebbles Le of CivTech, an organization also co-founded by Mr. Weston.  Teams brainstormed solutions for some of the issues facing San Antonio that were highlighted during last month’s Legacy Day. The class presented some great ideas and was challenged to pursue them leveraging the CivTech team. After the winners were announced by our illustrious judges; Cristina Bazaldua, Brian Hurtak, Victoria Shoemaker and Lori Stinson, “Be Engaged” team member Dan Cable spoke on the importance of Corporate Responsibility. A digital playbook assembled by the “Be Engaged” team on creating a corporate responsibility program was shown to the class and made public on the LSA website.  Dan then explained the history of challenge coins and presented commemorative “Be Engaged” coins to LSA2020, challenging them to find novel ways to be engaged and engage others with the end-goal of making a difference in our community.

The team was treated to a delightful barbeque lunch with Sheriff Javier Salazar; SA Chamber of Commerce President, Richard Perez; SA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman, Dr. Erika Gonazlez; and City Council members Jada Andrews-Sullivan; Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia; Shirley Gonzales; Melissa Cabello Havrda; Manny Pelaez; John Courage; and Clayton Perry where they discussed in-depth the importance of civic engagement and service in the community.

After lunch, the class was then ushered to the San Antonio Fire Academy for an afternoon focused on service and action. San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood welcomed the class and impressed upon them the importance of the many roles our first responders take on in service to our community. Training Academy Chief Michael Hinojosa then introduced the class to the activities that he and his team prepared to teach the class about initiatives the SAFD supports in the community. These included fire prevention, safety education and the Fire Explorers program for teens. The class also learned to “Stop the Bleed,” and had fun and informative interactive experiences with SAFD staff participating in some of the extreme functions used in the line of duty such as rappelling, deploying a fire hose, going up in the 105-foot fire truck ladder bucket, and operating the “Jaws of Life” on an unlucky car. After the break-out sessions, the team presented the SAFD team with the teddy bears the class donated with the goal of reigniting the “Teddy Cares” program that gives the stuffed animals to children impacted by a devastating fire.

Finally, to top off the day, the “Be Engaged” team introduced seven non-profit organizations important to them: the SA Zoo, Clarity Child Guidance Center, Eva’s Heroes, The Rape Crisis Center, Boysville, The SA Hope Center and Family Violence Prevention Services.  Representatives informed the class about the legacy of these great organizations, the services they provide and how LSA45 can take action to be engaged.

It was an incredible day of learning about the organizations and individuals who provide vital services to our community. With the goal of leaving a legacy and spur more action to make a difference, the Challenge to Be Engaged is on!

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Dear LSA Family,

We hope you and your families are remaining healthy and safe. During these past two months our great city has taken many necessary measures to ensure that our community stays safe and slows the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing measures that help to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus has greatly impacted our businesses, our schools, our families. We are all finding new ways to stay engaged, stay productive, and stay connected while supporting and rallying behind many of our LSA family who are struggling in our hotel, restaurant, tourism and travel industries, small business and non-profit sectors, as well as many others who have been professionally and personally affected.

With that said, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have agreed to continue LSA 45 (aka LSA 2020) into 2021, modifying our current class days using creative shortened virtual programs, challenging each other to serve the community and buy local, and to focus on the way ahead into next year. During these unprecedented times, our priorities are to ensure our businesses and families are safe and supported. We are challenged to improve ways that LSA can directly impact our neighbors and our community. In January 2021, we will reconnect to carry on the traditional mission of the program through full LSA class days – to educate and inform class members in the vital areas affecting San Antonio, as well as to encourage Chamber Business involvement and Community advocacy.

We find the COVID-19 challenges as a unique opportunity to leave a Legacy through Service and Action for our current class.

We look forward to seeing what LSA 45 can accomplish and we stand with you! We thank you for your continued commitment, leadership, and support to our great city!

We are all in this together!

Cristina J. Bazaldúa and Brian Hurtak
LSA 45 Co-Chairs