Parents Night Out Feb. 24 supports CCA club’s home-building efforts

The Canyon Crest Academy Casas de Luz Club is hosting a Parents Night Out on Friday, Feb. 24 to raise funds to build a home in Tijuana, Mexico. The club is offering parents a chance to take a break and drop off their children anytime from 6-10 p.m. at the Univertarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach — the teens will entertain the children with games, activities, movies and snacks for $30 a child ($50 for two children).

Mariella Gauvreau, CCA senior and president of the club, said the teens are pretty confident they can handle a lot of kids.

With the fundraiser, the club is looking to raise the $4,500 needed in order to build a home.

Casas de Luz was founded by Kathy Faller in 2005 and has built over 60 homes and two community centers, delivered over 500 truckloads of donations and has provided communities the possibility to achieve their true potential.

The organization is an affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and works to “create self-sustaining change through youth empowerment, cross-cultural relationships and leadership development.”

CCA has had a Casas de Luz Club for the last five years and Mariella has been a member since her sophomore year.

She was so drawn to the cause that she wanted to have a bigger role and applied to be an intern for the organization when she was a junior.

For the last two years she has been a part of the internship program, working to get fundraisers started and build more homes. Mariella said she is hopeful that her work with Casas de Luz is just the starting point for the rest of her life — she hopes to get degrees in both Spanish and engineering and use her knowledge and skills in the Peace Corps and doing service work in Latin America.

As an intern and as club president, Mariella has worked closely with fellow high school clubs at San Dieguito High School Academy, Westview, University City High and the brand new club at Torrey Pines High School. Skyline School in Solana Beach also has a club and she hopes this fundraiser will attract some more attention locally to the cause and get more kids involved.

Last year the CCA club did a combined build with San Dieguito High School Academy’s club, each raising half of the funds and sending 20 volunteers each to Tijuana. This year CCA Club members are aiming to raise the entire funds for a home on their own.

“I’ve gotten used to how it all works,” said Mariella, who has participated in five home builds with Casas de Luz in Mexico. “When we go down there it’s just a slab of concrete and a bunch of two by fours…You get to see what it looks like from the start, building something from nothing.”

Around 40 people are involved on a build and are broken into groups — some taking on the walls, others building the trusses and others focus on painting. Local contractors are on site ensuring that everything is safe and stable.

“The people we’re building the home for are with us the entire time. They help work on the house and usually it’s a family with kids and the kids help us too,” Mariella said. “We spend a lot of time together so it’s so personal for us to be involved in building their house. It makes it really hard to leave because you form all these friendships. It’s amazing.”

To register for Parents Night Out, e-mail To make a donation toward CCA’s efforts to build a home, visit