Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2020

ASCE OC Community Service

Volunteering from Home in 2020

By Kayla Kilgo, PhD, PE, ENV SP | Community Service Co-Chair

During 2020, we collected STEM activity kits for kids at Illumination Foundation, donated to fund meals at Ronald McDonald House, participated in the annual Coastal Cleanup from our own "happy places", and collected and donated supplies for dozens of hygiene kits for SONRIE to distribute in Ojos Negros, Mexico!

At the beginning of the COVID restrictions earlier in 2020, we had an in-person STEM event planned with kids at Illumination Foundation. Illumination Foundation provides services for vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. We quickly shifted and put together an online wishlist for STEM-themed activities to send to the kids instead. Fourteen STEM activity kits were delivered to Illumination Foundation in May to provide the kids with some summer break activities.

Over the summer, we had previously reserved a time to cook and provide a meal to families staying at Orange County Ronald McDonald House. This not only helps the families with children receiving hospital care a long distance from their homes but provides ASCE members an opportunity to connect with the community. Unfortunately due to the circumstances of 2020, we were unable to visit the Ronald McDonald House in person. Instead, we collected donations to send so that families could order and have meals and/or groceries delivered.

This September, we participated in the annual Coastal Cleanup hosted by the California Coastal Commission. This year was a little different: instead of meeting up as a group on a Saturday morning to clean up one of our local beaches or bays, everyone volunteered from their own neighborhoods or “happy places.” Trash can travel through storm drains and creeks to the ocean, so any clean up we can do in our own neighborhoods helps keep trash out of the ocean!

Lastly, but certainly not least, we were able to collect and purchase with monetary donations, hundreds of items to include in hygiene kits for SONRIE! SONRIE, which stands for the Support of Orphanages in Need through Resources, Innovation, and Empowerment, works with orphanages and communities in need in Mexico to help improve living conditions and engage kids in STEM activities. Hygiene kits were distributed on December 12th, 2020, during the 3rd Annual Posada hosted by SONRIE in the community of Ojos Negros, Mexico. Items donated included toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, bodywash, loofahs, deodorant, femine products, floss, and other similar items.

Thanks again for all of your generous donations! We’re looking forward to volunteering from home (and hopefully in person) with you in 2021!

About the Author

Kayla Kilgo is a water resources engineer in Orange County, CA. She enjoys making the world a better place through projects at work at CWE as well as volunteering with the ASCE OC Community Service Committee. She can be reached at


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