When East Bay College Fund Executive Director Diane Dodge was looking to partner with a community college in Oakland, she searched to find those with First-Year Experience programs that had the potential to advance the EBCF’s mission of getting minority and underprivileged high school students to complete college.
When she got to Merritt, she knew she had found the right one. “We wanted to see who was already out there doing great work, and Rosa Perez and Lilia Chavez and their team had already shown that they knew how to help students progress through college,” says Diane, whose goal is to eventually partner with every Peralta college. “We wanted to replicate their work and amplify it.”
The partnership, which started as a pilot program at Merritt over the summer, will provide huge benefits to the FYE Program including $1,000 scholarships for 100 Oakland students who are in the FYE program and meet specific requirements.
“We’re excited about our partnership with EBCF,” says Rosa. “This is an extra layer of support for us to help our fast-growing program. Along with the 100 scholarships, EBCF also provides us with dedicated counseling support, a mentorship program, and successful minority guest speakers who students can identify with.
The FYE Program, which provides a cohort program of English and counseling classes geared to largely first-generation Merritt students, also offers the Adelante Summer Bridge Program, a group of specially recruited high school students who spend four weeks learning about what it’s like to be a college student.
“Our goal is to convince the Adelante students that they can be anything they want by teaching them things like success skills, time management, and career exploration, and preparing them to enroll at Merritt and move right into the FYE Program,” says Rosa. Because of EBCF’s generous partnership, we can help even more students in Adelante and in the FYE Program to meet their goals.”
(Pictured: Above EBCF’s Executive Director Diana Dodge; Rosa Perez; English instructor Daniel Guerrero, and FYE students. Below: Summer Adelante Students celebrate their transition to the Merritt FYE Program.)