Trusted recommendations come from people we know. For that reason, the California Community College Student Ambassador Program trains California community college students to serve as on-campus advocates, educating peers about programs and resources available to support student success. The program provides a paid opportunity for students to develop as campus and community leaders, addressing equity gaps within their community and using these skills to create further change. The success of this program is due to peer-to-peer outreach continuing to be one of the most powerful avenues to bring critical resources to those who need them most.
In collaboration with participating colleges, FoundationCCC trains student ambassadors around basic needs resources, such as CalFresh and the Crisis Text Line. In addition, FoundationCCC provides student ambassadors with outreach materials and strategies, ongoing support, and leadership and professional development training to help promote available resources that make it easier for students to meet their basic needs.
The student ambassador model empowers student leaders to perform peer-to-peer outreach to build awareness, decrease stigma, and increase access to public benefit programs and basic needs resources. Examples of outreach include:
- Class presentations
- Partnering with student clubs and organizations
- One-on-one engagement
- Collaborating with faculty, staff, and administration
- Utilizing social media and other digital tools to raise awareness of resources for students
Additionally, student ambassadors learn to build skills in community outreach, public speaking, understanding how to access resources, navigating complicated systems, and community advocacy. These skills and experiences will help prepare them to enter the workforce.
FoundationCCC has operated student ambassador programs since 2016. The program has grown in its reach, focus, and in the number of student ambassadors that participate every year. The current California Community College Student Ambassador Program incorporates past aspects of the program (CalFresh, Wellness, and Civic Engagement) as students are trained around wellness resources, public benefit programs, and effective outreach strategies. Since 2018, student ambassadors trained by the FoundationCCC have reached over 700,000 of their California community college peers.