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LBCC, Boys & Girls Clubs offer afterschool program for kids of City College students


(L-R) Kelly Reynolds, Don Rodriguez, Suaya Montoya, Mike Muñoz, Herlinda Chico, Vivian Malauulu, Tracy Carmichael, Yvonne Gutierrez-Sandoval and Minh Luu at the inaugural celebration of the “Viking Clubhouse” on Thursday, Dec. 15. (Photo by Christina Merino, Press-Telegram/SCNG)


By CHRISTINA MERINO | cmerino@scng.com | PUBLISHED: December 17, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. | UPDATED: December 17, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

Read the article online here.

 

Long Beach City College has formed a new partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach to provide free afterschool programming to the children of LBCC students.

The program, which LBCC announced this week, is called “Viking Clubhouse.” The concept for it began after LBCC students who are parents of school-aged children described to City College officials the challenges of attending classes, counseling appointments and study sessions in the evening while trying to find high-quality, affordable childcare, according to a recent press release.


LBCC and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach launched the afterschool program this semester to help solve that dilemma for student parents.


LBCC announced the program on Thursday, Dec. 15. Officials with City College and the Boys & Girls Cubs held an event Thursday evening to celebrate the program. Parents and children who benefited from the “Viking Clubhouse” also participated.

Don Rodriguez, Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach Chief Executive Officer, at the inaugural celebration for a new partnership between LBCC and BGCLB to provide after-school childcare for student parents. (Photo by Christina Merino, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

“We’ve always tried to make sure that our kids had the opportunity to go to college and we tried hard to get them to graduate from high school, break down those barriers, be the first one in their family then go on to college,” Don Rodriguez, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, said during Thursday’s event. “But now we’re also able to help the parents to finish up and get their degrees. This has just been an amazing dream come true for our organization.”


“Viking Clubhouse,” on LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus, helps children with their homework, provides them with a snack and hot meal, and an “enrichment activity” in art, music or even movie making, said program coordinator Amy Huynh. LBCC students can drop off their children from 2 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.


Suaya Montoya is among the LBCC student parents to benefit from sending her children to the afterschool program.


Montoya went back to school later in life. She first enrolled at LBCC in 2014, as a parent of three children — and a widow. Her husband died of a heart attack.


Montoya faced many of the challenges single parents must overcome when returning to school, she said on Thursday.


But this semester, she had the help of “Viking Clubhouse.” LBCC provided her the support to further her career in childhood development as a student parent by providing after-school childcare.


“I never knew that it was possible for me with three children to be able to come back to school and begin or finish any level of training if I didn’t have childcare available to me,” Montoya, who wants a career in childhood development, said Thursday evening. “So thank you so much for this incredible program.”


The “Viking Clubhouse” allowed her to drop her children off in the evening, Montoya said, and focus on classes and schoolwork — knowing her kids were in a enriching and safe space on campus.


“The level of community and the level of support that I have felt in this year alone in this one semester has been the most overwhelming positive experiences I have ever had,” Montoya said. “I’ve never felt this level of support in my community, in all the different programs that I have been in and all the different things that I’ve done.”


The prorgam has benefited from an innovative funding model, said Mike Muñoz, LBCC’s superintendent-president. That mode includes the grants and resources the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach has access to, but LBCC does not, Muñoz said — as well as help from Long Beach Unified School District.


LBUSD allowed LBCC to tap in to some of its afterschool money, Muñoz said.

“It is a triangulation of all of our agencies working together,” he said, “to really make sure that there’s enough funding to make sure that this program not only exists today but exists tomorrow.”


“Many of the aides who are working in the program, we have aligned to recruit our child development students that are eligible for federal work study,” he said, an idea brought forth by Dean Yvonne Gutierrez-Sandoval.


The program also uses LBCC’s child-development students who are eligible for federal work study as “Viking Clubhouse” aides.


Montoya has applied to be one of them — so she can help the program that has helped her.

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