Center for Community Collaboration:
A New Name, A New Outlook
by Valerie Orleans
From Dateline (February 19, 2003)
The Center for Community Collaboration, formerly
known as the Center for Collaboration for Children, has a new mission...and
a new name. While issues that affect children remain a priority
for the center, additional focus will be placed on families and
“When you’re working to enhance the lives
of children, you’re really working with families as well,”
said Michelle Berelowitz, center director.
The center’s mission is to assist children,
families and communities through collaboration with public agencies
and community-based organizations. Established in a partnership
between the College of Human Development and Community Service and
University Extended Education, the center works to provide service
to the community through a variety of venues.
“We have three primary strategies,” Berelowitz
explained. “Professional development, applied scholarship
and research, and community capacity building.”
One example is a new program, CONECTATE (Spanish
for “get connected”) that is designed to help 40 families
with fourth-graders at Richmond Elementary School in Fullerton.
The center, under a $250,000 Department of Health and Human Services
grant, will provide an after-school program – including workshops
and enrichment opportunities for children and their families.
“Our goal is to set up a family life center
where we work with at-risk minority children, providing mentoring,
social and emotional development activities, tutoring and physical
education programs,” Berelowitz said. “In partnership
with the Fullerton Unified School District, we want to help these
children prepare for and be exposed to higher education.
“Children will attend Cal State Fullerton summer
programs, such as the Titan sports and art camps,” Berelowitz
said. “In addition, we also will be holding ‘family
nights’ one day each week to work with parents, as well as
children. Other events include monthly field trips to museums and
galleries to provide enrichment experiences.”
Mikyong Kim-Goh, associate professor of human services,
and Clay Sherman, assistant professor of kinesiology and health
promotion, will assist with the CONECTATE program, providing leadership
training, curriculum development and program evaluation.
CONECTATE’s goals are to assist in social development,
cultural identity, academics, health, development of career goals,
and family bonding.
To achieve those goals, the Center for Community
Collaboration will be partnering with FACES, a counseling program;
Campfire USA; National Compadres Network; and the Orange County
Human Relations Council.
The center also is working in the area of professional
development. Faculty and staff members are providing workshops and
classes to help develop the skills of those working with children,
as well as increase the number of degree and certified professionals
serving in “helping” fields such as education, social
services, health care, after-school programs and services for the
Center staff members have worked on projects for
the Orangewood Foundation, a shelter and program to serve abused
or neglected children, as well as local nonprofit agencies. Recently,
a group of social welfare students from Japan visited campus to
learn more about how social services are provided in the United
States and how related subjects are taught on college campuses.
Through applied scholarship and research, the center
hopes to support scholarship among faculty members who may be involved
in various projects.
In addition, the center is working with government
and nonprofit agencies to help develop more effective outreach services.
Center staff members are involved in developing a needs assessment
to identify the most pressing needs of San Gabriel Valley nonprofit
organizations for training and program development.
The center recently published the 9th Annual Report
on the Conditions of Children in Orange County, which tracks children’s
well-being in the areas of health, education, economic well-being
and safety. Children’s Services Coordination and Children
and Families commissions sponsor the report.
“Our new name says it all,” said Berelowitz.
“It is by working in collaboration with other agencies that
we’ll be most effective. By providing training, research and
service to help these agencies, the Center for Community Collaboration
and Cal State Fullerton help them achieve their goals, evaluate
their effectiveness and provide an overall benefit to the families
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