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Thousands of California Students to Earn Cash for Community Service

Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media 

On Oct. 7, Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, educational leaders, community organizations, and the California Volunteers Commission administered the service oath to the first #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Fellows. 

Over 3,200 student fellows during the 2022-2023 academic year will receive up to $10,000 for completing a year of community service. College Corps is a statewide paid service program that provides meaningful work to college 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 with the intention of helping people and improving communities. 

“Part of the California way is giving back to help uplift others, and that is a core principle of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps,” Newsom stated. “College Corps is about restoring the social contract between the government and its citizens. This public investment builds upon California Volunteers’ army of service members, which is larger than the Peace Corps and exemplifies the spirit and idealism I see in young people across California.” 

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

Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was in attendance. 

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 build a diverse class of leaders set to transform California for the better. 

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

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

Rowe, along with other College Corps fellows, will take part in community service projects across the state. Fryday said College Corps is an opportunity to “begin a life of service” to benefit the masses. The program is a collaboration of over 600 community organizations, including 46 partnering colleges and universities across the state. 

The objective is to address issues pertaining to climate change, tutoring and mentoring, low-income students, and distributing meals to those facing food insecurity. Once the fellows finish 

their assignments, they stand to receive $7,000 for 450 hours of community service. An additional $3,000 is provided as an education award. 

“You and I are going to be part of a movement toward change,” Rowe said before the oath was administered in the auditorium of the California Natural Resources Agency Building. “We’re going into our own communities and playing an active role in building them up.” 

College Corps represents the first and largest state-level investment in a college service program in the country, with $146 million earmarked for up to 6,500 students over the next two years. About 80% of fellows are students of color, 58 % are first-generation college students, 68% are Pell-Grant eligible, and 500 fellows are AB 540 Dream Act. 

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

“This is a win-win-win: Helping to pay for college, gaining valuable work experience, and having a meaningful impact on your community,” Fryday stated.

Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.

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