The San Bernardino Valley College Foundation has been awarded by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (San Manuel) a grant in the amount of $299,925. The funds are designated to enhance and expand support of the Valley-Bound Commitment Program, a student success program created to eliminate economic barriers that might prevent low-income students from attending college.
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a transformative partner for San Bernardino Valley College and Valley-Bound students. Since Valley-Bound’s inception in 2008, over 1,700 students have been served through the program. San Manuel has generously contributed nearly two million dollars to support the Valley-Bound program over the past twelve years.
Valley-Bound is designed to assist Inland Empire students with their educational journeys and to eliminate financial barriers for students who do not have the financial means to continue their education beyond high school. “Not only did we help students who were struggling in high school, but students who believed that they could not attend college,” Carmen Rodriguez, SBVC Dean of Student Equity and Success, explained. “It has been amazing to see the students become successful professionals and role models within their communities. The program provided families the excitement of having their child in college; it also motivated the parents to enroll in classes at SBVC. The beauty of this program is the opportunity to help not only the student, but also the entire family.”
The recently awarded grant funds are being used to purchase student textbooks, pay full time enrollment fees, finance student scholarships, purchase school supplies and graduation regalia. As some students may lack access to technology, the funds are also being used to purchase laptops for students with demonstrated need. Additionally, the grant supports the hiring of four additional part-time adjunct counselors, who will assist Valley-Bound students with academic planning.
At the 2019 Valley-Bound Commitment Luncheon, Valley-Bound student Kristina Jaramillo shared how the program has helped her as a student, particularly with the specialized guidance she received. “I never thought I’d see straight As on my transcripts,” Jaramillo said with a smile, “Having the counselors…they were the guidance that made me the student that I am today.”
The driving goal of the Valley-Bound Commitment Program is to increase college completion rates in the region, which will help produce an educated, skilled and qualified workforce for the continued economic well-being of the Inland Empire community. Past Valley-Bound Commitment program participants have gone on to become counselors, teachers, construction engineers, aeronautics specialists, and social workers. Several program alumni are now working throughout the San Bernardino Community College District as faculty and classified professionals.
Valley-Bound alumni have attended universities such as UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, CSU San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Baptist, Embry Riddle, La Verne University and Sacramento State, among others. There are many success stories of Valley-Bound scholars, like Sandy, who completed her Bachelor of Arts at CSULA and decided to move to Korea. She now teaches English abroad at a Korean high school.
“Valley-Bound has helped not only our students from the Inland Empire, but—as a staff member at SBVC—it has given me the opportunity to witness their growth as scholars and professionals in their own right, and now they are becoming mentors within their communities, ” Rodriguez shared. “They pass on what they have received and now help others achieve their goals. That is what this is about: giving back and informing others that education is attainable at SBVC.”
More than 80% of Valley-Bound Commitment students are the first in their families to attend and will be the first to graduate from college. Once they experience college and, more importantly, realize that they can succeed in higher education, they begin a lifelong journey of setting and achieving career and life goals which will improve their lives and enrich the surrounding community. San Bernardino Valley College is deeply grateful for San Manuel’s pivotal role in supporting the success of Valley-Bound students.