|Cal State Fullerton
Receives HUD Grant
Cal State Fullerton receives HUD grant
to help improve quality of life for local residents in poor
December 14, 2005 :: No. 88
A good neighbor to residents of a low-income area in central
Fullerton is what Cal State Fullerton aims to become, according
to Donald S. Castro, special assistant to Cal State Fullerton
President Milton A. Gordon.
a $599,525 grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development, the university will expand the Valencia
Community Center -- doubling its present size -- and offer
free services, such as civics classes, leadership training
and English lessons.
The three-year project will involve
the Fullerton Collaborative, a coalition of partners -- Cal
State Fullerton, Fullerton College, the city of Fullerton,
Fullerton School District, St. Jude Medical Center and
the Valencia Task Force. Students and volunteers will make
up the majority of the staff that will provide the services,
and Castro will serve as the project's director.
residents who will benefit are those who live in the Richman
Park neighborhood, an area bordered by Harbor Boulevard,
the 91 Freeway, and Commonwealth and Woods avenues. According
to the 2000 U.S. Census, 6,447 people live there, and the
average median income is $36,645.
Many of the adult residents are poor, have little or no
formal education, few job skills and speak little or no English,
fundamental problem faced by residents of the central Fullerton
area is that there is very limited space for the provision
of services to meet the needs of the community," he said. "Many
residents lack automobiles and, therefore, have difficulty
in being able to go to off-site providers."
part of the project, CSUF will purchase two 12-foot-by-60-foot
modular units that will be attached to the existing Valencia
Community Center in Richman Park.
"The facility expansion will provide for dedicated rooms
for computer instruction, teenage use, storage space for
toys and other materials used for the preschool and after-school
programs, one-on-one tutoring and more use by children and
their parents," Castro said.
The expansion and a remodel of the existing building are
expected to be complete by next fall. Then, computer labs
will open to Richman Park area parents, and CSUF and Fullerton
College students will conduct technology workshops in Spanish
and English to teach how to use the Internet to obtain college
and university eligibility, admissions and financial aid
Other services planned include:
• The formation of a parent group called
Padres Promotores de la Educacion (Parent Advocates for
Education). Members will be parents of junior high and
high school students who will be trained to convey information
about the school system, requirements for graduation and
retention and higher education options to their peers through
home visits, informal neighborhood presentations and church
or block association meetings.
• A CreditSmart program, which will
be geared to helping potential homeowners learn how to
manage their money, establish and maintain credit and plan
for the future.
• Vocational and career training workshops
that will help residents develop programs related to safe
neighborhoods, such as a junior cadet-type program. The
workshops also will help residents learn about landscape
design by participating in the creation and maintenance
of a community garden. Residents will be taught how to
set up business systems and develop technology skills.
English-as-a-second-language classes will be offered, along
with sessions on how to mount publicity campaigns and promote
a positive community image.
• Civic education classes devoted to
what it means to be an American citizen will be conducted.
The curriculum will include an overview of American history,
customs and culture. It also will prepare interested pupils
on what it takes to become a U.S. citizen or permanent
the same time CSUF will be adding to and remodeling the Valencia
Community Center, St. Jude Medical Center will build a 5,000-square-foot
clinic next to it and provide staff to offer medical and
social services, such as prenatal and pediatric care, urgent
care, chronic disease management, health education and mental
health counseling. The clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and services will be free.
clinic will serve as a venue for Cal State Fullerton's obesity
prevention program and other wellness programs, which are
sponsored by the departments of nursing and kinesiology.
The main purpose of the project, noted Castro, is to empower
Richman Park's area residents.
"This is a community in need, a community that is not receiving
the kinds of services it needs, and this project will help
citizens in central Fullerton become more self-sufficient,
financially sound, English proficient, technologically adept
and develop skills in a variety of areas and take advantage
of educational opportunities," he said. "The project demonstrates
Cal State Fullerton's commitment to serving its community
and being a good neighbor."
Cal State Fullerton earned high marks from HUD for its grant
application for the project.
"The application process was highly competitive, and your
institution's success indicates a strong capacity to make
a difference in the lives of the students and the community
you serve," noted Harold L. Bunce, HUD's deputy assistant
secretary for economic affairs.
Donald S. Castro at 657-278-3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ko Cruz of Public Affairs at 657-278-7586 or email@example.com
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