A new program in California pays students while giving them valuable tools for the future.
“I harvest the different fruits and vegetables that we grow and we sell or take to the food bank. Some days I do field trips like K-12 education or work with high schoolers that come in every Monday and Wednesday,” said Cal Poly student Holly Brue about her work at City Farm SLO .
Brue is part of the California College Corps. This is a state program that allows certain low-income college students to complete 450 hours of community service in exchange for $10,000 from the state for tuition and living expenses.
“It’s a way to make money while also serving our community,” Brue said.
City Farm SLO is one of several organizations that Cal Poly is partnering with this year for the California College Corps program, which focuses on K-12 education, climate action, and food insecurity.
At City Farm SLO, Brue can experience all three.
“Getting outside and learning about sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture, and getting my hands dirty, I just found what interested me,” Brue said.
The program also helps students like Mary Norman change their career goals.
“Now I’m learning about what it’s like to be a water resources engineer and the program helped me get my summer internship this summer so I can work with a local engineering company,” said Norman.
In the program, Norman, who is majoring in environmental engineering at Cal Poly, focuses his time on climate action, working once a week at a water resources recovery facility in San Luis Obispo.
“A lot of the outreach that we do is to high schools in terms of letting them know what the WRRF is and how important it is to know where your drinking water is and where your water, in general, comes from,” said Norman.
Annika Francis is also part of the program and wants to become a teacher. He currently works in K-12 education coaching 5th and 6th grade boys basketball at Hawthorne Elementary School.
“It’s a cool way to learn how the district works, how I talk to a principal, how I operate this admin office, and also get that one-on-one experience with those baby,” said Francis.
He rushes out of classes twice a week to practice for the boys’ team.
“It’s a great lesson in not only providing physical activity and athletics but also creating an experience to talk about teamwork and sportsmanship with these kids,” said Francis.
The California College Corps program is in its second year, covering 46 campuses across California, including Cal Poly, Cuesta College, and Allan Hancock College.
“It’s a win for our young people who get help paying for school, it’s a win for our community because they’re doing really meaningful work on food insecurity, climate change , and education and it’s a win for the state of California because we’re creating the next generation of young people with the tools to work together,” said Josh Friday, Chief Service Officer for the California College Corps.
College Corps is currently hiring so if you are interested in being a part of the program, click here.