Whittier College’s Center for Engagement with Communities (CEC) has been awarded $411,680 grant from the BCM Foundation to support programs that strengthen the relationship between the surrounding communities and academic programs at the College. Since 2011, CEC has received more than $1 million from BCM to advance the work of the Center and all the programs under its umbrella.
“These programs enable our students to work with organizations in the community in any number of capacities, providing students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom” said Professor Joyce Kaufman, director of the CEC. “It also allows our community partners to be ‘co-educators’ by taking an active role in our students’ learning and in so doing, they then have an increased investment in the College.”
In line with this goal, Whittier students and faculty provide expertise that can help community-based organizations better achieve their own goals.
The BCM Foundation grant will cover a number of ongoing and new projects supported by the CEC. Some notable projects include:
- Fifth Dimension, which serves over 1,000 students and is based at the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier;
- Ruth B. Shannon Performing Arts Center cultural outreach activities and free performances for students and members of community;
- peer mentor programs at La Serna, Whittier, Santa Fe, and Pioneer High Schools;
- meetings and events with community partners; and
- a CEC fellowship program for a current Whittier College student.
BCM funds will also provide special grants and stipends for faculty who integrate community-based learning into their classes.
“When we received our first grant from then-B.C. McCabe Foundation more than a decade ago, I was charged with creating a real partnership between the College and the community,” adds Kaufman. “We think that this latest grant, and all that it will allow us to achieve, stands as a testament to achieving that goal.”
Another program supported by the CEC and the BCM Foundation is the annual College and Community Expo. This year’s event was held in April and provided highlights from various projects carried out by dozens of Whittier students, 18 faculty members, and 36 community partners including the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, El Rancho High School, Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Uptown YMCA, Whittier Historical Society and Museum, and the Whittier Public Library, among others.