California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday administered the service oath to the first #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Fellows during a live and virtual ceremony on Oct. 7. Higher education leaders, community organizations, and the California Volunteers Commission joined the more than 3,200 Fellows who will serve during the 2022-2023 academic year.  

Cal State San Bernardino, which is a participant in the program, hosted a Launch Party and Swearing In Celebration where 43 students from both San Bernardino and its Palm Desert campus joined students around the state to take the oath administered virtually by Gov. Gavin Newsom.   

College Corps is a statewide paid service program which provides meaningful work to underserved college students, helping them graduate on time and with less debt while benefiting the local community.

“Part of the California way is giving back to help uplift others, and that is a core principle of the Californians for All College Corps,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Students from a range of backgrounds will use their unique experiences to serve others and at the same time earn money for college – a triple win for our communities, our students and our future.”

College Corps Fellows will dedicate the academic year to tackling the biggest issues facing our state. Fellows will work in their communities to tutor and mentor low-income students, distribute meals to those facing food insecurity and take climate action.

Students will receive up to $10,000 for completing a year of service. This program is the first opportunity for AB 540 CA Dream Act Students to earn support for college in a state service program.

“In California, if you are willing to serve your community and give back in a meaningful way, we are going to help you pay for college. This is a win-win-win: Helping to pay for college, gaining valuable work experience, and having a meaningful impact on your community,” said Fryday.

Over the next four years, College Corps will engage 13,000 California undergraduates to make a positive difference in their communities. This service and career development program will help build a diverse class of leaders set to transform California for the better. Funding was made possible by the efforts of Governor Newsom and lawmakers.

Paz Olivérez, the CSUSB vice president for Student Affairs, congratulated the students telling them that their impact is immeasurable.

“You will serve as role models to students in your community who will see themselves in you and reinforce a belief that a college education is a possibility,” Olivérez said. “For many of our students who have grown up believing that college is not an option for worse, maybe they were even told by someone along the way that someone like them was not meant to go to college. You have the ability to change the student view of their own potential.”

Astrid Mejia, at left.
Astrid Mejia, at left.

Astrid Mejia, a fourth year student majoring in Spanish who lives in Coachella, said her goal is to be a teacher. Mejia, who emigrated from Honduras with her family, said, “I wanted to apply to this program because I think it’s a good way for me to get experience as a teacher, working with students and I want to give back to my community.”

She said she was inspired to do the program by her parents, the struggle that they did give something back to them and this is a way for me to do it.”

Her stepfather, Walter Hernandez, who accompanied Mejia to the ceremony, said in Spanish that the program was good for all that it was going to do and he was proud of Astrid for all her hard work and accomplishments.

Biology major Michael Witherspoon, who lives in San Bernardino, said his goal is to become a dentist.

Michael Witherspoon, at left.
Michael Witherspoon, at left.

“I want to serve my community. I want to feel the pulse of the community that I’m going to be serving in the future and besides serving them, I’ll be able to put myself in their position so that I could serve them in the future. Witherspoon was accompanied by his wife Crystal.

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