‘Your community supports you:’ College, career support in City Heights

San Diego organizations and leaders came together Saturday to provide City Heights residents with much-needed support at a college and career fair.

Held at Herbert Hoover High School, “The Village United” fair featured various academic and professional workshops and resources on basic needs for high school students, as well as adults hardest hit by the pandemic.

“While the pandemic has exacerbated many inequalities, I believe in collective power when people come together,” said Rocío Zamora, director of college enrollment at Avenues for Success, a college access program and to the quarry serving Hoover High. “It’s all of us coming together to invest in our future.”

The fair was the culmination of efforts by various community advocates, including Avenues for Success, County Supervisory Chairman Nathan Fletcher, and the San Diego Foundation, a nonprofit that helps fund services and community resources.

“To the students here today, I really hope that you, in all the organizations you connect to today, feel that your community supports you,” said Michelle Jaramillo, director of educational initiatives at the Foundation of San Diego. presence.

Representatives from local colleges, including Grossmont College, San Diego State University, Southwestern College and CSU San Marcos, spoke to attendees about different paths to college as well as health services and public assistance programs.

Vivian Guerrero, left, of the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, gives information about the program to Grace Hernandez, center, and her son, Jonathan Hernandez, who is in the ninth grade at Hoover High.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

The workshops covered topics ranging from transitioning from high school to college, financial aid, college and career planning, stock market investing, job training programs, and low-cost computer programs. cost.

There were also organizations providing more basic needs, such as home COVID-19 testing kits, books and snacks, while the county’s Live Well on Wheels bus was on hand to help attendees access to health and community services, such as CalFresh and MediCal.

“When we help students plan for their future, it is essential that we also meet the basic needs that they and their families have in the present moment,” added Zamora.

Mid-City CAN, a community advocacy organization, spoke to attendees about the importance of vaccinations and voting against COVID-19, and highlighted some of its youth programs, such as a summer program artivism”.

“It’s an opportunity for young people to really dig deep into their communities, their identities and create beautiful art that reflects that,” said Yasmeen Obeid, a youth organizer.

The three-week program at Hoover High will focus on learning about art and activism by doing art projects.

While many of the students in attendance were part of the Avenues for Success program, others say the fair provided them with invaluable information, like mother Sara Ortiz, who brought her 15-year-old daughter, Julianna.

Ortiz currently works two jobs to support her children and said she wants to learn how to better prepare herself to progress in the job market, such as learning resume-building tools and interview techniques.

“I thought it would be more for her to learn about college,” Ortiz said after attending a work readiness workshop, “but I also heard great advice for myself.”

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