The Berkeley Promise and the City of Berkeley’s efforts to end homelessness were both honored at the 9th Annual Chancellor’s Community Leaders Breakfast on February 13th for being “transformational community-driven initiatives.” Despite heavy rain, the event was attended by dozens of community and campus leaders. Chancellor Carol Christ and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín offered introductory remarks both talking about the importance of the partnership between the city, the community, and the campus.
Joleen Ruffin, Executive Director of the Berkeley Community Fund (BCF) and Dr. Rowena Tomaneng, President of Berkeley City College (BCC) both spoke about the college access initiative and partnership. BCC, BCF and the City of Berkeley lead the Promise, in partnership with Berkeley Unified School District, UC Berkeley’s Community College Transfer Center, BAYER, and the East Bay Community Foundation. Key staff and partners in attendance were introduced including Program Coordinator, Fatima Rodriguez-Ortiz; Associate Dean for Academic Success at BCC, Martín De Mucha Flores; and Merryl Owen, Director of the Community College Transfer Center and Transfer Alliance Project at UC Berkeley.
In an inspiring end to the event, Berkeley Promise Scholar Kyra Duncan, a first year student at BCC, spoke of how grateful she is to be part of the program. She said, “being able to have constant support throughout my community college journey is important to me. And having some financial help is the icing on the cake. As a Berkeley Promise Scholar I plan to take full advantage of the opportunities that we will be introduced to…I also know that through this program, I will have the support to explore different opportunities and a good start to my college career.”