Golden West College … a California Community College

I would like to share with you some short stories about several of the Community Partnerships in which GWC is currently engaged. After reading how your community college is partnering with other service organizations you might be interested in developing a partnership project also. I would welcome your call because we are, after all, your college.

El Viento

El Viento’s mission is to provide children and young adults with opportunities for success in life. These successes are the result of long term relationships developed together within an environment of mutual trust and respect, teamwork, learning, and skills and leadership development. This commitment begins with parents and students in fourth grade and continues through community college. Partners in this endeavor include Oak View Elementary School, Ocean View School District, Huntington Beach Unified High School District and the Coast Community College District – who have a shared mission to help these students help themselves.

Golden West College has been very happy to host two graduations. In 2006, the first class of fourth graders graduated from high school and entered college and in 2008 the second class graduated and started college. In March of 2008, El Viento invited the ninth group of twenty-five children into our program. This is a significant milestone for us as our program now serves close to 200 students and their families. Their success is the community’s success and a testament to the effectiveness of community partnership and leadership. Golden West College is proud to have been part of this program since its inception by its founding visionaries – Ellen Shockro and Jack Shaw, Founders of El Viento.

Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce

The HB Chamber Mission statement explains that it “is the leader of and catalyst for plans, strategies, programs and services that promote a favorable business climate, improve the quality of life, and support the orderly growth and development of our City.” Some of their objectives include;

  • To coordinate the efforts of commerce, industry and the professions in maintaining and strengthening a sound and healthy business climate in the Huntington Beach area.
  • To sponsor aggressive programs of work and stimulate activities which will provide for full development and employment of our human and economic resources.
  • To provide creative business leadership and effective coordination of all interested parties in solving community problems and in initiating constructive community action.

These goals are certainly compatible with the college’s own objectives for our community and underscore why we find this an important partnership. It is why our college Presidents have frequently served on the Board of Directors and why we encourage college participation in events such as the Transportation Committee, Surf City Connection, Economic Conference, Planning Conference, Green Expo, Leadership Academy and other chamber activities. We know that our success as a community and a college are inherently linked together and so this partnership is one of mutual respect and developing friendships.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley

Child Development Center

In 2005, Golden West College formalized its relationship with the Huntington Valley Boys & Girls Club. The college was seeking a licensed child care program partner that would provide our students, staff and community members competent child care with an accredited child development curriculum at an affordable cost. We wanted to provide programs for infants as young as six weeks old through pre-kindergarten. This NAEYC Accredited Learning Center implements curriculum that helps children participate in developmentally appropriate activities within a warm and supportive environment, led by caring adults trained in Early Childhood Education. The center has an educational philosophy compatible with our community college. We both believe that as students successfully learn the pleasures of doing things for themselves, while learning to act safely, value property and respect the rights of others, they will develop a positive self-concept. Ideally these life lessons begin in childhood and mature in the early stages of adulthood. It’s this shared goal that makes this partnership so successful and has encouraged both of us to work at expanding our community partnership. Now we have a shared goal of building California’s first Boys & Girls Club on a college campus!

New Boys & Girls Club

This new club will include a state-of-the-art school age youth facility, an eight classroom child development preschool, and a full-sized gymnasium. When fully operational it will serve up to 2,500 kids a year with nearly 70% of those kids coming from low-moderate income households. The Boys & Girls Club will help parents do the right thing—go back to school and go to work to provide for their kids. These families need programs like ours—homework help, tutoring, leadership programs, sports leagues, licensed preschool programs, and tons more. Being on a college campus sets a different tone and creates a long term vision. This is another way this community college is partnering with our community.

Twilight Education Project

Three evenings a week big yellow school buses pull up in front of the Child Development Center at Golden West College and parents and children get off these buses to go to “College”. Children are provided homework help, recreation and crafts while parents take classes in English, Parenting and Life skills. This partnership project helps immigrant families gain the language skills they need to succeed in our community. The program is growing: we have added a 4th bus route and are reaching 75 more children and parents from Oak View. Recently, we conducted a survey of participating parents that showed great results. Because of the Twilight program, 73% of parents have become more involved in their children’s education, 69% feel more able to help with their children’s homework, 73% say they understand more when they talk to their children’s health care providers, and 54% say they understand more when their children are talking to their English-speaking friends. This shows that the adult component of the program is helping participants become better equipped to be parents in this community, which ultimately makes a huge difference for the kids.

In Conclusion

It is always a risk to call attention to three community partnerships out of many. However, I hope you have been able to see through these examples that as a community college we have mutual goals with many service organizations in our area. In these times of stretched resources, joining our hands for the common good is often a more effective way to provide assistance to those in need.