California Community Colleges Student Ambassador Program Celebrates Over One Million Student Connections
Program leverages peer-to-peer outreach to increase student access to basic needs support; builds student leaders across the system
June 6, 2023 – Sacramento, CA –The Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) is proud to announce a significant milestone achieved this year: surpassing one million student connections through its Student Ambassador Program. Since 2016, the program has been instrumental in increasing students’ access to basic needs support while simultaneously cultivating a cohort of leaders across the California Community Colleges.
In collaboration with 90 participating colleges, the Student Ambassador Program has trained over 500 students to serve as on-campus advocates through effective peer-to-peer outreach strategies that raise awareness of basic needs resources, including CalFresh, Crisis Text Line, California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance, low-cost technology resources, and more. Because trusted recommendations come from people we know, the peer-driven outreach model helps students more quickly understand and take advantage of these resources available to them, and to ultimately focus more on their academic journey rather than challenges such as where their next meal will come from.
The program also serves as an important professional development and leadership opportunity. Student ambassadors, who receive a stipend for participation and ongoing coaching and support, engage in various outreach activities, including one-on-one engagement, class presentations, webinars, partnerships with student clubs and organizations, and social media. These activities have yielded impressive results to date, including more than 3,500 CalFresh application submissions and over 14,000 conversations and 24 active rescues through the Crisis Text Line.
“Being an ambassador is really important to me because, as someone who wants to go into social work, being an ambassador feels like the first step in getting there,” said Jadyn Sheppard from Cabrillo College on the importance of the program. “[And] every time a student looks at a resource flier or social media post, listens to a presentation, or engages with an outreach event, a new normal, in which people feel comfortable asking for help when they need it, is being created.”
“We are incredibly proud of the growth we have witnessed through the Student Ambassador Program, which demonstrates the urgent and continuing need for support within our student community,” said Iris Aguilar, Executive Director of Equity and Community Impact at Foundation CCC. “The Student Ambassador Program is empowering individuals to support their peers and raise awareness about vital resources that can often be a determining factor in a students’ ability to stay in school. It’s a life-changing experience that not only reduces basic needs barriers for our students, but also one that cultivates the next generation of community leaders and inspires lifelong commitment to serving others.”
The Student Ambassador Program exemplifies the transformative power of peer-to-peer outreach and continues to improve the educational experience for hundreds of students each year. Program success to date has been made possible through generous funding from partners including the California Mental Health Services Authority, Elevance Health, Golden 1 Credit Union, Union Bank, and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation. As student needs persist, FoundationCCC welcomes new partners interested in supporting basic needs and investing in student leadership.
For more information about FoundationCCC and its Student Ambassador Program, please visit our website.
The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.foundationccc.org.
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