The Southwestern College’s Dreamer Center is celebrating its five-year anniversary. The program was established to help students navigate the challenges of attending college as undocumented students by providing essential services, like assisting with the admissions process and financial aid options, including scholarship workshops. Academic counseling and priority registration to ensure that students receive the resources they need to succeed in their studies are also provided. In addition, the center offers fellowship and paid volunteer opportunities to help students gain real-world experience and build their resumes.
The Office of Student Equity Programs and Services Director, Dr. Guadalupe Corona, oversees the Dreamer Center with one full-time employee, Alejandra Garcia, who serves as its coordinator, who has been instrumental in the success of the program. The team provides critical services to students and builds strong relationships with the campus community.
“We started our first year by looking at our processes and procedures, especially at the admissions process,” said Corona. “Over the last few years, we have been aligning these needs, to make sure we work with each department to see what we can do to support undocumented students’ experience.”
The Dreamer Center hosts events to help undocumented students feel included in the campus community. These events provide opportunities for students to connect with other undocumented students, learn about resources, and build a sense of belonging. Additionally, the program offers free legal immigration services to assist with the complex and often confusing process of obtaining legal status.
The program has awarded $122,250 through direct student aid, grants, scholarships, books, supplies, and technology. The program has made a significant impact in the lives of many undocumented students who might not have had the opportunity to attend college without its support.
“One of the things we have worked throughout the years is ensuring that we have paid fellowships, internships with stipends,” said Garcia. “We have navigated the ways that we can support students outside of just grants.”
Since its launch, the program has served over 950 students.
The Southwestern College Dreamer Center has made a significant impact in the lives of undocumented students in our community, and it is looking to expand its services and help all those who need assistance. The Dreamer Center’s achievements over the past five years demonstrates its effectiveness and importance in promoting access to education for all students, regardless of their immigration status.
The Dreamer Center will be celebrating its five-year anniversary this Thursday, April 27, at the Chula Vista campus, in room 26-120, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to join and learn more about their services.