Cypress College is breaking the welfare dependency cycle with CARE.
Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) is a program at Cypress College that was established to assist Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) students.
CARE is specifically designed for low-income single parents, providing workshops that include self-esteem, parenting, study skills and time management. CARE also assists in grants and allowances for child care, bus passes, text books and school supplies, ect.
According to pamphlets found in the CARE/EOPS office, located on the second floor of the Cypress College Complex room 201, the CARE program is a combined effort of three agencies: the Department of Social Services, the Department of Employment, and Cypress College. Related to CARE is CalWorks, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids. CalWorks is part of the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF).
Students who are truly in need of child care now have a place to turn. The CalWORKs office is a place for a student to feel comfortable talking to specialists and learning all of their options.
According to Lili Perez-Stroud, CalWORKs Specialist, “We want you to go to school, we want you to transfer, and we want you to get your bachelors degree”.
Even though these specialists take pride in what they do, and cater to needy families, this program is most definitely not a hand out. CalWORKs specialists make it their priority to ensure that student parents are being responsible and providing for their children.
While Cypress College no longer has child care on campus, they do provide personal one on one screening with the child’s caregiver, and require a “Provider Agreement” form that must be filled out, stating that the care giver also agrees to his or her responsibilities. Perez-Stroud states, “This is parental responsibility, and if a parent knows that their child is safe and taken care of, it is easier for them to study and focus on their education”.
Future student and expecting parent, Justin Fox, 22, said ” My main concern is being able to provide for my baby, and to do so I know I need to go back to school to further my education that will help me in obtaining a better paying job. I just don’t know where to start”.
It’s students like Fox that benefit the most out of the help of the specialists like Perez-Stroud provide. Fox also said, ” I have never heard of CalWorks, but I am definitely open to any help that is available to myself and to my child”.
Kurtus Allorgot, Accounting major, says, ” It’s nice to know that I will attend a school that provides resources to students who have a hard time providing for themselves, education should also be a persons first priority.”
Programs such as CalWorks, CARE and EOPS are programs that not only assist students, but help to improve lifestyles of so many students, making it easier to obtain their education, and making it possible to get out of the welfare cycle.