Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My son is a senior at California State University Monterey Bay. It is a unique school in many ways. It was founded specifically to serve the under served. The vision statement in part reads:
envisioned as a comprehensive state university which values service through high quality education. The campus will be distinctive in serving the diverse people of California, especially the working class and historically undereducated and low-income populations... The identity of the university will be framed by substantive commitment to multilingual, multicultural, gender-equitable learning.

One of the ways that CSUMB meets that goal is through the Service Learning Institute. Each student must complete a service learning requirement to graduate. This is isn't as simple as showing up and volunteering some time. This is a comprehensive, involved program, requiring students to look at oppression, power, multiculturalism, their feelings and prejudices and how they can be more sensitive, effective and make powerful contributions to their community placements.

It is stunning what this program offers and can do to change the lives of the students and the people in the community the students come in contact with. For instance, one of Zac's good friends , Rachel was honored for her work on a farm where farm worked are taught how to run organic farms, a food drive, a Hunger Banquet and College Access Weekend, which was the event I attended.

My son, Zac, has been involved as a community volunteer since he was a high school student. This program is a primary reason he chose to attend this school. He is now employed by the SLI and is a teaching assistant for one of the classes. He was one of the leaders of the College Access Weekend which brought 53 Middle School students from all around the Central Valley area to the school for a weekend of events to help them envision themselves in college and teach them that goal is possible.

They kept those kids hopping! The theme was "Bridging mi familia, cultura, historia e identidades with my higher education." They had activities including making a personal Coat of Arms, journaling, writing poetry as a group, role playing, art projects and discussions groups and tours. They broke off for wild games of Capture the Flag and the popular Captain My Captain. They loved the all-you-can-eat- dining hall experience and bunked down in sleeping bags on the gym floor.

When I attended the Closing Ceremonies of the event with the parents who had come to collect their children, I was moved to tears. There was such pride in the room. the kids were tired, but excited to show their parents the things they had done. The parents and families who came were all smiles, obviously proud to see their children in that environment. Lots of cameras were clicking away.

And I was proud and happy to have raised a son who has such a good heart and soul and wants to do this sort of work with his life.


jenn said...

This is outstanding!

Waisting Time said...

What an amazing young man! Good job mom:)

Walker said...

And he's dashing. He's the full package!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I would love for my students to do this. It sounds amazing.

You should be filled with motherly pride!