Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales recently met with Josh Fryday, chief service officer for the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, to talk about the program where students will have the opportunity to serve their communities and help pay for college.
The discussion included Diana Rodriguez, chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District. CSUSB and the college district’s two campuses are among the 45 colleges and universities in the state chosen to be part of the two-year fellowship program, which is set to begin this fall.
Under the program, CSUSB will recruit, train, place, supervise and evaluate each year 75 full-time undergraduate students, including 25 eligible Dreamer students, at both the San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses. The fellows will receive over two academic years of service opportunities in areas such as K-12 education, COVID-19 recovery and climate recovery, said Summer Steele, director of the CSUSB California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP).
Morales said the program fits into CSUSB’s DNA of volunteering in the community.
“We feel that this program will simply elevate and leverage what we’ve really been committed to doing, and providing the funding that students need to be able to serve,” Morales said. “Oftentimes our students in the past have had to work and therefore not have the opportunity to volunteer.”
Fryday, who had met throughout the day with Inland Empire community college and university leaders, said, “It’s just really exciting and we’re so lucky to be launching our recruitment effort for students here in the Inland Empire.”
He said the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps was launched by Gov. Gavin Newsom and higher education leaders in California to really provide debt-free pathways to students willing to provide two-years of service.
“Like the GI Bill, where we helped generations of Americans find a pathway to the middle class through service by helping them pay for school, here in California, we’re saying to our young people, ‘If you want to commit to serve and you take action on our climate, food insecurity, and tutoring and mentoring, then we’re going to help you pay for college,’” Fryday said.
“The idea is we want to help students graduate with less debt of course, but we also want to make sure that students are gaining valuable work skills while they’re in school and be able to focus on doing something,” Fryday said.
Morales said volunteer service programs will not only help local communities, but also participating students.
“The data is very clear. Students that are involved in these types of programs and service, and are engaged, graduate in higher rates and are more successful, are more likely to find employment opportunities and so it’s so critical for the Inland Empire,” Morales said.
Under the program, CSUSB student fellows will coach 3,500 K-12 students and tutor 5,000 K-12 students in participating schools and school districts. Each fellow who completes one year of service or more than 450 hours of service will receive a $7,000 living allowance and up to a $3,000 in education award at the end of service. The fellows will also have the opportunity to receive academic credit for their service and engage in cutting-edge, service-learning academic service curriculum on campus.
Morales said CSUSB will be able to expand its volunteer service throughout the two-county region.
“It’s really going to give us an opportunity to serve the entire region, out east in the Coachella Valley, up in the High Desert, Victorville and Barstow, and the west side of both Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” Morales said.
CSUSB fellows will be positioned throughout the region at high-need elementary, middle and high schools. These fellows will utilize coaching and tutoring methods to engage students in the learning process and help students develop the skills necessary to set and achieve goals. Coaching sessions may be delivered individually, in small groups or classroom settings. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the project will utilize hybrid delivery methods, as needed, to ensure equitable access to services.
In addition, select fellows will be identified and provided specialized training to support historically marginalized (or disproportionate) populations, including students who identify as LGBTQIA+, students with disabilities, undocumented and mixed status students, youth in foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, Black/African American students, and Native American students. In addition, 10 of the fellows will be sent to various food banks to meet the community needs.
CSUSB will also be operating the program at its Palm Desert Campus to serve the Coachella Valley and will ensure the students at the PDC have opportunities to serve.
As part of the regional two-county area consortium, CSUSB along with the San Bernardino Community College District, will be collaborating with the Riverside Community College District; the College of the Desert; the University of California, Riverside; and Growing Inland Achievement, which will serve as the coordinating agency.
“We’re going to learn from each other. We’re going to leverage each other,” said Morales, who added that CSUSB was going to work with “other school districts to create these meaningful host institutions so students are engaged in career development and meaningful service throughout the region.”
Visit the #CaliforniansAll College Corps website for more information.
For more information about the CSUSB #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Fellows program, contact Summer Steele, director of the CSUSB California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) at firstname.lastname@example.org.