Melanie Gonzalez (right), 23, and Jennifer Stacy Guerra (left), 24, were the first winners of our newly launched “Register 10 People to Vote & Win a Trip to Cuba” Sweepstakes. The prize included an educational weekend in Havana, Cuba, with roundtrip airfare and 3 nights/4 days AirBNB Lodging.

The sweepstakes ran from October 5th, 2016 to October 24th, 2016. The entries were validated through a review of county records along with the Voter Affidavit Number. The rules were simple:

  • Register 10 people to vote
  • You had to be a registered voter to enter
  • Registrations had to be valid NEW registrants
  • You could enter up to 5 times (50 registrations)

Within the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba, this project falls under the “education activities” category. The two were provided with an orientation and a Cuban Educational Itinerary before traveling.

Q & A

1. What school do you attend and what are you studying?

Melanie: "I attend California State University, Los Angeles and I'm getting my Bachelor’s in Social Work."

Jennifer: "I'm getting my Master’s in Social Work at California State University, Fullerton."

2. Do you find voter registration in your area to be important/necessary?

Melanie: "Voter registration is very important and necessary in my community because every vote counts and together we can make a difference."

Jennifer: "Absolutely. I've always encourage others to register and vote. Voting is an important right & give us citizens a voice in our government."

3. How did you feel when you heard that you were the winners of the sweepstakes project?

Melanie: "I was in complete shock because I had never won anything in my life and I couldn't believe it. I immediately called my mother and told her the news and she was very excited for me."

Jennifer: "I was extremely excited for Melanie when I heard she had won and even more excited when she decided to take me."

4. What places did you visit during your trip?

Jennifer: "Plaza de La Revolución, El Capitolio, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, El Malecón, and Old Havana."

5. What did you learn during your trip?

Melanie: "I learned that the people from Cuba are very limited and don't have the luxury that we in the United States have and it made me appreciate everything that I have."

Jennifer: "One of the most important takeaways I learned and value is that one cannot believe everything the media puts out there. I was scared of the thought that I, an American, would be in Cuba, a communist country. Despite their political state, Cubans are one of the most genuine, warm hearted individuals. They are also are very intelligent and talented. They welcomed Melanie & I with open arms. There's so much history & rich culture in Cuba."

6. What was something unforgettable about your trip?

Melanie: "Things that were unforgettable were the classic cars; there were so many!"

Jeniffer: "Something unforgettable and that I am extremely thankful for is Roberto & Mary (the driver & his wife). They gave us the true Cuban experience by showing us around old Havana and the places on our itinerary as well as places to eat."

7. Would you recommend others to participate in this sweepstakes project?

Melanie: "I would encourage people to participate because it was for a good cause."

Jennifer: "Yes !"

SVREP will continue this project in 2017. Sign up for our newsletter to learn when you can participate and possibly even be the next winner!

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