Thousands of California students will earn money for community service

Sacramento State University College Corps students taking the oath on Oct. 7, 2022 (Photo: Antonio R. Harvey, CBM).

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

On October 7, Governor Gavin Newsom, Director of California Services, Josh Fryday, educational leaders, community organizations and the California Volunteers Commission took the oath of service to the first #CaliforniansForAll College Corps scholars.

More than 3,200 scholarship students in the 2022-2023 academic year will receive up to $10,000 for completing a year of community service. College Corps is a statewide fee-for-service program that provides meaningful work for students that helps them graduate on time with less debt while benefiting the local community.

The oath is a solemn promise to perform voluntary work for the purpose of helping people and improving communities.

“Part of the California way is to give back to help lift others, and that’s a core tenet of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps,” Newsom said. “College Corps aims to restore the social contract between government and its citizens. This public investment is backed by the military army of the California Volunteers, which is larger than the Peace Corps and exemplifies the spirit and idealism I see in young people across California.

The oath was sworn in front of Newsom at the California Natural Resources Agency Building in downtown Sacramento, a few blocks from the State Capitol.

Tony Thurmond, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of California, was present.

Over the next four years, College Corps will engage 13,000 California undergraduates to make a positive difference in their communities. This service and career development program will help create a diverse class of leaders ready to transform California for the better.

Funding was made possible through the efforts of Newsom and the Legislature. The program is the first opportunity for Assembly Bill (AB) 540 CA Dream Act students to gain support for college through a public service program.

“I decided to apply because I’m pursuing a career in education, and #CaliforniansForAll College Corps is a way for me to earn as I learn,” said College Corps Fellow Tia Rowe. from Sacramento State University. “I look forward to working in my community and playing an active role in bringing people together.

Rowe, along with other College Corps Fellows, will participate in community service projects across the state. Fryday said College Corps is an opportunity to “start a life of service” for the benefit of the masses. The program is a collaboration of more than 600 community organizations, including 46 partner colleges and universities across the state.

The goal is to address issues related to climate change, tutoring and mentoring, low-income students, and providing meals to people facing food insecurity. Once Fellows complete their assignments, they will receive $7,000 for 450 hours of community service. An additional $3,000 is provided as a scholarship.

“You and I are going to be part of a movement for change,” Rowe said before the oath was taken in the auditorium of the California Natural Resources Agency Building. “We go into our own communities and play an active role in building them.”

College Corps represents the first and largest statewide investment in a college service program in the nation, with $146 million allocated to up to 6,500 students over the next two years. Approximately 80% of scholarship recipients are students of color, 58% are first-generation college students, 68% are Pell-Grant eligible, and 500 scholarship recipients are AB 540 Dream Act.

A virtual briefing hosted by Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media was held Oct. 11 with FIND Food Bank President and CEO Debbie S. Espinosa, Fryday, and student fellows. The discussion focused on the vision that inspired the program, how it will work, who is eligible, how to apply and where students will perform their community service.

“It’s a win-win-win situation: help pay for college, gain valuable work experience, and make a meaningful impact on your community,” Fryday said.

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Natural Resources Agency auditorium about #CaliforniansForAll College Corps: Governor Gavin Newsom.mp4

Jill E. Washington