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Special Ceremony Recognizes 100 Native American Students for Academic Success Amid Low National Graduation Rates

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San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, University of California, Riverside, University of Redlands and California State University, San Bernardino honor graduates in a unique cultural ceremony, featuring a traditional hoop dance performed by a World Champion

 

HONORING

ACHIEVEMENT: The challenges encountered by Native American students are unique, both academically and socially. But the journey to overcome these challenges is one not traveled alone. To support the learning and success of local Native American students – from kindergarten to college graduation – the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc. Native American Resource Center is hosting the 8th annual Native American Student Recognition Dinner at the National Orange Show. This celebration is made possible through partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and area schools including University of Redlands, University of California, Riverside (UCR), California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), Claremont Graduate University, Noli Indian School, San Bernardino City Unified School District and Banning Unified School District. Joshua Gonzales, director of Native American Student Programs at UCR, will serve as the event’s emcee.

The highlight of the evening is the special celebratory entertainment that commemorates Native traditions. Terry Goedel, who has been performing the Native American Hoop Dance for over 45 years and is a seven-time World Hoop Dance Champion, will perform a traditional hoop dance with his daughter. In addition, the Bearspring Dance Group will perform a pow wow exhibition dance.

More than 400 people are expected to attend, including San Manuel Tribal members, local dignitaries, parents, educators and graduating seniors.

LOCATION: NATIONAL ORANGE SHOW – RENAISSANCE ROOM 930 South Arrowhead Avenue, Gate 9 • San Bernardino, CA 92408

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS/VISUALS:    

*Traditions: Speak with tribal educators and leaders about the culmination of the Native American and educational partnership to support Native American student’s education.

*Honor: San Manuel Tribal members and representatives will commemorate the success of parents and students working together. Interview opportunities with educators, resource program managers and university administrators.

*Rejoice: Celebrate the hard work of the 2019 Native American graduates. Interview opportunity with graduating seniors.

*Dance: Photo/video opportunity of seven-time World Hoop Dance Champion Terry Goedel and pow wow exhibition dancing from Bearspring Dance Group.

 

About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Since ancient times we have expressed ourselves through a culture of giving. Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa’ (Serrano word meaning “to act on one’s beliefs”) through partnerships with charitable organizations. We have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Career & Workplace

Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit Connects the Dots Between the Classroom and Careers

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The Inland Empire Connection: Merging Academic Paths and Career Journeys

Exclusive Report by Ken Alan, IEBJ freelance writer

A generation ago, parents and school counselors tended to defer talking to students about going to college until the last two years of high school. Today, kindergartners are likely to see their classroom dressed up with college pendants and banners that proclaim “we will go to college.” The line that once separated the classroom from careers has faded as schools now actively seek mentorships, internships and apprenticeships for their students and high schoolers are getting a head-start on earning college credits through concurrent enrollment at a junior college. These were just a few of the insights that highlighted the Third Annual Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit in Riverside.

“Connecting business with education,” was the overarching goal of sponsoring the summit, said Cathy Paredes, Senior Vice President, Inland Empire Marketing Executive for Bank of America, which employs about 2,000 in the region. Since 2018, the company has sponsored a student leaders program, offering paid internships and work experience for various non-profits. About 100 applications were received last year for four internship opportunities. Next year’s program will start accepting applications in October. (More information can be found at bit.ly/3LtRN5p).

While promoting a college education remains their main focus, schools are adapting to the new reality of some students opting for careers that don’t require a degree. Riverside high schools offer 58 career pathways, referred to as CTE (Career Technical Education), where about 85% lead to immediate employment in good-paying jobs, according to Dr. Edward Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, County Office of Education. CTE careers include graphic design, residential and commercial construction, financial services, medical assisting, pharmacy clerk, culinary management, cyber security, welding, emergency medical technician and many more. (Download the entire catalog at bit.ly/3JKZa7e).

Students choosing to enroll in college declined from a peak of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent by 2020. A study produced by the Hechinger Report attributed the trend to a dip in the population of college-age students, growing skepticism about the value of a college degree, and the cost of higher education now exceeding what many families can afford to pay. Meanwhile, traditionally low-wage fields have been offering starting pay well above the minimum wage.

“We need to focus on more than just college,” said former State Senator Connie Leyva in her keynote address. “There are lots of jobs that pay good wages that don’t need a college degree.” Leyva served on California’s Senate Education Committee for 8 years, 4 of those as chair. Last October she took the helm of San Bernardino public broadcasting stations KVCR TV and KVCR FM. 

During the press briefing that preceded the summit, Leyva outlined several initiatives to produce original educational programming: “KVCR is working with the (San Bernardino) County schools on a program called ‘Learn with Me.’ It will be 36 episodes. We write it, we direct it, we produce it, so it’s a very big endeavor. What’s unique about it is the fist portion is in English and the second portion is in Spanish.” The program will debut in June. KVCR also offers student internships in broadcast administration, production and fundraising.

Limited school counseling resources was cited as a key reason the discussion of career and college used to be deferred until late in high school. Now, schools have partnered with non-profits like Think Together, which offer after school programs, tutoring — and counseling.

“Schools have their hands full. So, we’re kind of ‘middleware’ that sits between the school and the workplace,” said Randy Barth, CEO.

Diego Martinez, now a mechanical engineering student at Mt. San Jacinto College, participated in Think Together program while attending West Valley High School in Hemet. “I joined the Vex Robotics group in my freshman year in high school. We designed and programmed robots that would complete certain tasks to complete with other Think Together sites in our region. Throughout my journey with Think Together there’s been a lot of interaction with the staff … I was able to get letters of recommendations for scholarships … Think Together has really supported me, all the way through high school and now in community college. I definitely wouldn’t be as far along as I am today without them,” he said. Martinez hopes to complete a bachelor’s degree at one of the University of California campuses.

Think Together also offers instruction in essential soft skills like public speaking, resume workshops and interview techniques.

“In the Inland Empire we have more apprentices per capita in our region than the rest of the State. We have more IT and cybersecurity apprentices than the Silicon Valley,” said Charles Henkels, Executive Director of Launch Apprenticeship Network. “It is an important economic development tool for our Inland Empire business community. It’s an earn-and-learn model, so it’s a win-win for both the student and employer.”

“If a student doesn’t have a plan to go college then we want to connect them to the industries that are hiring,” said Ted Alejandre, County Superintendent at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. “The carpenter’s (union) has an apprenticeship program where, at age 17-1/2, students can start off at $19/hour but then move very quickly to $25/hour.”

“The pandemic really stifled opportunities for internships and jobs, so we really want to encourage businesses to go out of their way to give our young people these opportunities,” said Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chair at California Workplace Development Board.

“Today’s summit is really more than just discussing the challenges facing our workforce. It’s about exploring innovative and effective strategies to build stronger, more inclusive and more prosperous communities in the Inland Empire and beyond,” said Riverside City Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson who secured $4.4 million in Youth Jobs Corps funding last year. The program, called “CaliforniansForAll,” offers employment for youth ages 16-30 to develop career pathways and interest towards a career in public service in the key areas of education, climate, and food insecurity. The City places Fellows in part-time positions for up to two years in municipal departments such as Parks, Recreation, and Community Services, Public Works Street Trees Division, The Office of Homeless Solutions, and the Fire Department Office of Emergency Services. 

The summit was hosted by the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce together with partner Think Together and sponsor Bank of America.

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Education

Think Together Awards City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley USD at Annual Raise A Hand Fundraiser

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Think Together Honors City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District with Champion of Change Award at Annual Raise A Hand Event
Think Together partners with the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District to provide afterschool and expanded learning programs to nearly 6,000 students annually.

Think Together, California’s largest nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning, and school improvement programs, is proud to announce it has named the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District as this year’s Champion of Change award recipients at its annual Raise A Hand fundraiser event held on Thursday, April 21.

This year’s event returned as a live broadcast with more than 300 guests attending watch parties in Orange County, the Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and the Bay Area and raised over $500,000 to date for K-12 expanded learning and afterschool programs that enrich the school day and bring equitable education opportunities to students throughout the state.

“Think Together is so impressed with the leadership and collaboration the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified foster to serve students in their community,” said Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth. “When new investment opportunities or program innovations become available, they’re the first to lead the way, trailblazing new programs that support student learning and inspiring others to do the same.”

When schools rolled out distance-learning to keep communities safe during the COVID pandemic, Think Together worked with the City of Moreno Valley and the Moreno Valley Unified School District to offer virtual expanded learning programs to students so they could stay connected with peers and program leaders in an educational environment.

As schools began to welcome students back on campus last year, the City and the District were among the first to partner with Think Together to augment their existing After School Education and Safety (ASES) and 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants with newly available Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) funds to offer expanded learning programs to more students and during non-instructional days, like summer and spring break.

“When we began our work together more than ten years ago, I knew as an educator this partnership had real potential to make a difference in the lives of students,” said Dr. Yxstian Gutierrez, Mayor of Moreno Valley. “There’s no greater investment than the one you can make in the future of our students, and this one has been no exception. It is an invaluable asset for our community.”

Since partnering with the City of Moreno Valley and the Moreno Valley Unified School District, Think Together has served an estimated 50,000 students with afterschool and expanded learning programs. In 2022 alone, programs reached an estimated 6,000 students and have evolved to serve youth and their families with academic enrichment, physical activity, and social-emotional learning, helping to provide a safe place for kids during typical working hours for caregivers.

Think Together was founded in 1997 as a single afterschool center in Costa Mesa and has since grown to serve nearly 200,000 students annually with direct-to-student and professional development programs throughout the state.

“We’re honored to be recognized alongside the City of Moreno Valley for the work we’re doing to help students outside of the school day,” said Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Martinrex Kedziora. “These programs make a real difference in the lives of students and their families, and this recognition validates the work we’re proud to do every day as educators.”

Think Together also awarded its Faces of the Future Scholarship Award to three outstanding students who were enrolled in Think Together’s program. Recipients received a $2,000 scholarship and a laptop to start their college career.

A replay of Think Together’s Raise A Hand virtual broadcast can be viewed on YouTube. Sponsored by the Worah Family Foundation, the event brought together passionate individuals and corporations throughout California to celebrate 25 years of impacting students through afterschool and expanded learning.

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Education

Think Together’s Hernan Sanchez Named Among 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders by National Afterschool Association

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Awardees were recognized during the NAA22 Convention in Las Vegas, March 20-23, 2022.

Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), has named Think Together Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Hernan Sanchez as one of the National Afterschool Association’s (NAA) 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. Hernan was recognized and celebrated alongside 19 other NextGen Leaders during the NAA22 convention in Las Vegas, March 20-23.

Hernan Sanchez joined Think Together in January 2021, quickly gaining recognition among his peers before celebrating his one-year anniversary with the organization. In his role he helps connect families and communities to resources that help support their children in school, such as library memberships, program enrollment, financial literacy and more. Hernan earned accolades from leadership throughout the industry for his ability to connect with others on a personal level, despite the unprecedented challenges educators and afterschool professionals have faced during the pandemic.

“When you think of the next generation of afterschool leaders, you think of someone who not only looks at the impact on kids and their community, but also sees that expanded learning is a complete support system for our families,” said Think Together Executive General Manager Johanna Lizarraga. “This comes down to innovation and thinking outside the box. Hernan doesn’t see afterschool as just supporting the student. He sees it as fortifying their support system in and out of the classroom.”

The Family and Community Engagement Team at Think Together is a new department cultivated during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic when Think Together saw that families needed additional support connecting to resources such as the internet, technology, school supplies, and meal services.

Their work has since evolved to give families the tools to support the student’s school day as well as pave a path to college and career readiness, assist with literacy and related educational development services. Think Together has a Family and Community Engagement Team coordinator supporting each of the organization’s nine regions.

“We are so proud of Hernan for his passion and commitment to Think Together’s mission,” said Founder and CEO of Think Together Randy Barth. “In his short time with the organization, he is making an impact that makes us excited to see what he will accomplish next with us.”

Think Together is thrilled to have Hernan join the ranks of previous honorees of the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. In 2021, Helen Welderufael, then regional operations analyst for Think Together’s San Bernardino Region, received the award and has since been assumed the role of talent acquisition operations manager. In 2018, Alberto Bajaras, then quality assurance coach for Think Together’s San Bernardino Region was awarded and has since climbed the ranks to Director of Program and Operations for the region. Stacy Galdamez, executive general manager for Think Together was named in 2017 and was also a quality assurance coach at the time of her recognition.

In selecting its 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders honorees, the National AfterSchool Association sought to highlight emerging young leaders under the age of 30 who are active in the broader afterschool community, demonstrate contributions that have started to influence beyond individual programs to entire organizations and communities, are actively engaged in efforts to elevate the afterschool field, have a proven passion for the development of themselves and others, and demonstrate persistence in their work to grow within their roles.

“This group of leaders represents the creativity, dedication, and commitment of the best of our next generation of the afterschool profession. We are honored to recognize them because we know the important role strong leadership plays in promoting positive outcomes for children and youth,” said Gina Warner, President and CEO, National AfterSchool Association.

An estimated 10.2 million young people participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000 professionals and leaders. The National AfterSchool Association is a professional membership association that fosters positive youth outcomes by supporting, developing, and advocating for afterschool professionals and leaders.

Honorees were profiled in the Spring 2022 issue of NAA’s AfterSchool Today magazine. A digital edition of the magazine may be viewed here.

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