The 41 Gateway to College programs that operate in 21 states are not only part of a national network, they’re critical components of local community efforts to provide more opportunities for young people. As programs become more ingrained in their communities, they build key partnerships that provide additional support for students and help students recognize opportunities available to them when they graduate. The Gateway College & Career Academy (GCCA) at Riverside Community College has been serving students at Riverside, California, since 2004.
GCCA and Women Wonder Writers (WWW), a Riverside nonprofit dedicated to serving at-risk youth, have a long-standing partnership in working toward the common goal of educating, empowering, and strengthening young people in their community. GCCA secures Arts and writing programs offered by WWW staff and volunteers for their “Bridge” students, who are awaiting placement into the Gateway Foundation Term. The 10-week program allows each student to discover their “authentic selves” through writing and art projects. It is offered one day each week as an extracurricular activity to GCCA’s new students, and helps students more easily transition into a dual enrollment program.
In Spring 2015, Gateway College & Career Academy celebrated more than 25 GCCA graduates of The Write of Your Life program. Most of the GCCA staff (pictured) attended an educational luncheon sponsored by WWW and featuring Erin Gruwell, founder of Freedom Writers. Erin shared her story of reaching students in unconventional ways, and getting them to be readers and learners. Her work inspired the GCCA staff as they prepared to kick off the new school year. It has been said that working with youth needs constant recommitment – the “Healing Young H’Arts” event allowed GCCA staff to have their inspirational work recognized and their souls fed as they enter a new academic year. Most importantly, it served as a reminder that our students succeed when communities come together to provide holistic support.
Pictured above, GCCA Staff attending WWW luncheon
Top Row: Zack Taylor, Linda Montgomery, Mercedes Sapien; 2nd Row: Misty Loucks-Messenger; 3rd Row: David Medina, Elena Bautista, Brenda Forsse, Miguel Contreras, Kathy Bywater, Scott Jacobs, Michael Pass