Friday, October 12, 2018

Federal Grant Targets Retention, Graduation Rates for Students Needing Child Care

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Salt Lake Community College a four-year, $1.1 million grant to expand its Tim & Brenda Huval Child Care Center at the school’s South City Campus.

Funds from the grant, which is part of the federal Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) program, will allow the college to expand center hours until 10 p.m. on weekdays, hire more full-time staff, and add classrooms at the facility, effectively doubling capacity to 180 enrolled children.

The college will match the four-year grant by applying $390,000, or 36 percent of the project cost, for student childcare vouchers and to support one-time renovation and ongoing program costs. The federal grant makes up 64 percent of project costs and runs through September 2022.

SLCC’s ultimate goal for the center’s expansion is to increase college retention and completion among its student parents by making childcare more accessible and cost-effective. Currently, 39 percent of Pell Grant recipients at SLCC support dependents, and single parents made up 43 percent the school’s student parent population during the 2017-18 year. In order to use the services at the Tim and Brenda Huval Child Care Center, student parents must be Pell Grant eligible, and they are required to meet with an academic advisor at least once, promoting enrollment in courses that advance academic and career progress.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Latinx Panel Shares Stories, Struggles and Solutions Related to Immigration

The tears flow as soon as Alvaro Martinez, Jr. starts talking about moving from Mexico to the U.S. at age nine. “My life completely changed once I moved to the U.S.,” he said. “I have lived through many difficult situations throughout my life.”

Martinez was part of an Oct. 9 panel discussion dubbed “Latinx Immigrants: Stories, Struggles and Triumphs in Utah,” held in the Oak Room of the Student Center at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus. Mequette Sorensen, interim associate dean for the SLCC School of Economics, Psychology & Sociology, formed a committee to plan and secure funding for the panel as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. “I felt it was time for me to organize another opportunity for our Latinx students to celebrate their heritage, bring important issues to our college and provide an educational forum for all students to learn more,” Sorensen said.

The panel included Martinez, a Hunter High School graduate and business major at SLCC, University of Utah Dream Center Director Alonso R. Reyna Rivarola, Comunidades Unidas’ Mayra Guadalupe Cedano Robles, Utah Sen. Luz Escamilla and Utah’s Mexican Consul Jose V. Borjon.

Martinez, 20, a first-generation college student who is SLCC’s Student Association president, talks haltingly about not being able to travel with all of his family members for fear of an immigration stop and possible detainment and deportation due to lack of proper documentation. When asked about his own successes, he reminds people that his is an average story. “The change we can make as just average people is huge,” he said. “The average person really matters. I made a difference in my community, representing students, and I hope you guys go out as high school students or average people and make a difference in your community.”

About 100 people, many of them high school students, asked questions of the panel that covered a variety of topics, including racism within one’s own family. Reyna, who moved from Peru with his mom and brother at age 11, said his brother, who was light skinned, made fun of him growing up. “It was something that was really hard for me,” he said. Escamilla encouraged the audience to use the pain of “dissonance,” whether within your own family or community, as a voice for change. “If you speak up as someone who has had to cope with that,” she said, “when you see confrontation or injustice, you have that experience. Your voice is so powerful, and no one can take that away from you.”

Escamilla was also asked about children being separated in mass numbers from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border, and she emphasized the fallout is ongoing. “They haven’t fixed the problem. Until there is enough outcry, they’re not going to fix it. You’re going to go down in history. This is going to be in our U.S. history books – I guarantee it. You might want to be on the right side of history and do something.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Quotes, Takeaways from CNN Political Contributor Van Jones

“I’ve never seen a bird fly with only a left wing,” said Van Jones as he talked about the differences between the country’s two major political parties. “Never seen a bird fly only with a right wing. We need each other. It takes two wings to fly.”

Jones used that metaphor first with a roomful of students, many of them interested in journalism, and then in front of nearly 600 people in the Grand Theatre at Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus. The Dream Corps founder and CNN political commentator was the featured speaker at the 2018 Tanner Forum on Social Ethics.

During the Oct. 9 forum, Jones choked up when talking about trying to live up to the legacy of his late father, Willie Jones, who was passionate about helping others. “How can I, his son, with a Yale law degree, do less than my dad,” Jones said. “I’m never going to live up to Willie Jones, but I’m going to keep trying.”

Below are photos and quotes from the evening, during which Jones mixed humor with hope amid a country he described as being politically polarized and divisive.

“If you don’t eat kale, you might not be invited back to whatever Democrats are doing.”

“Right now, both political parties suck. … They are both hypocritical, and they are both failing the country. And it means that you don’t have a home that works for you, most of you.”

“We’re a messed up, terrible country, but we’re still the best country in the world.”

“It’s the disrespect – that’s the problem.”

“We’ve got a lot of dumb, mean people in both parties doing dumb stuff. The main problem is not the dumb, mean people. The main problem is that we have got a bunch of good people in both parties in all races who just don’t know what to do yet and haven’t found a way to help each other yet. And that’s a problem we can solve.”

“It’s hard to vote for people who disrespect you – simple as that.”

“I think the next great leaders will be women.”

“If you’re a working-class kid here at a community college, doing the best you can and you got these dreams inside of you that just seem so big they hurt, and you’re writing stuff down in your journal and you’re scared to show somebody because they seem so grandiose and so crazy – good. Good. Because that little dream is going to bug you and bug you and bug you and keep you going and keep you striving and keep you trying and keep you learning. And then what you do is, you try to find people who are ahead of you in line and see if you can get them to give you a little bit of their time and attention.”

“You need your setbacks. Your successes give you confidence. But your setbacks give you your character – and your character is the most important thing.”

“I try to be as helpful as I can be.”

“I fundamentally feel that we spend a lot of time in mainstream media setting our hair on fire about what Trump just did.”

“I think mainstream media is going through a midlife crisis of epic proportions.”

“This is a tough journey we are on as a country. We have every kind of human being ever born in one country at the same time, and frankly we mostly get along. ... In the history of humanity, if you have that much difference, you have wars. We have tweets. This is tough, but it’s an improvement.”