Chabot College and non-profit organization Davis Street Family Resource Center in San Leandro have joined together to form the East Bay Teacher Pathway Program. The program provides a pathway for “at risk” young adults who want to become teachers, with an emphasis on math and science.
“In this context it’s at-risk of gang involvement, of poverty, of criminal involvement,” said Rose Padilla Johnson, Executive Director of Davis Street Family Resource Center.
The formation of the E.B.T.P program was the result of a more than $5.4 million grant, awarded to the State of California. These funds were to provide job training and education programs for at risk youth, those joining gangs or attempting to leave them via the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Initiative.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced the CalGRIP initiative in May 2007 to confront the increase in gang affiliation across the state. “The overall goal is to create a pathway for young adults who are considered at-risk, and who want to become teachers, hopefully with a focus on math and science,” said Johnson.
The East Bay Teacher Pathway Program provides a support base for the students as well.
“When I come here I feel at home and I feel like they want me to strive and be successful,” said Aniesha Thomas, E.B.T.P Student.
The program is intended to ensure students attend college full time and work part time. After course work is complete at Chabot, the students are eligible to transfer to partnering California State East Bay to complete their Bachelor’s with a teaching credential.
“My hope and goal for the program is to create the next generation of teachers, educators, and social workers from the East Bay for the East Bay,” said Adam Rogers, Student Support Specialist for East Bay Teacher Pathway. “To create a group of people who can go back into these East Bay communities that we’re from and really engage the people in those communities.”
The students persevere regardless of the challenges that may present themselves in everyday living.
“I am a single mother of two, and although I had my first daughter at fourteen I’m still making it,” said Danielle Ortiz, E.B.T.P Student, “of course there’s been obstacles that I have to overcome but you know I’ve made it and I’m still making it.”
Gang life may be a reality in California, but it does not have to become the “one true way.”
“This program is filled with students who deserve a shot,” said Rogers, “and who have sacrificed so much just to get here and are willing to sacrifice so much more to get to where they want to be.”
For more information regarding The East Bay Teacher Pathway Program contact:
Davis Street Family Resource Center: www.davisstreet.org or (510) 347-4620