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Draper Center Blog

Progress Versus Pride | Becca Baiman '15

May 1, 2015

Before graduating in Spring, Draper Center Coordinator, Becca Baiman '15 spent some time reflecting on the need to find a balance between pushing for progress in her programming and being content with her accomplishments. In her final semester as coordinator, Becca led the Coronado Garden Project and supported Community Based Research and Learning.   

Mentoring at the Sontag Rooftop Garden | Maddi Cowen '16 and Ani Schug '17

April 27, 2015Mentoring at the Sontag Rooftop Garden | Maddi Cowen '16 and Ani Schug '17

Maddi Cowen '16 and Ani Schug '17 describe a semester worth of work with the Rooftop Garden Mentoring Project. 

Deconstructing Hierarchies of Knowledge: the True Value of Community Engagement | Maya Kaul '17

December 5, 2014Deconstructing Hierarchies of Knowledge: the True Value of Community Engagement | Maya Kaul '17

Maya Kaul '17 discusses the true value of community engagement and the role that it holds within Pomona College and our surrounding community. She highlights the importance of applying theoretical knowledge in settings outside of the classroom. 

Do you like Raccoons?: Reflections on Community and Language | Ani Schug '17

November 28, 2014Do you like Raccoons?: Reflections on Community and Language | Ani Schug '17

Ani Schug '17 shares her thoughts about language as a tool of oppression and how ESL strives to build community by exchanging linguistic knowledge, rather than placing the English language on a pedestal. 

Getting to Know Our Future | Catherine Song '17

November 18, 2014Getting to Know Our Future | Catherine Song '17

Catherine Song describes the excitement she feels when she works with K-12 students from our surrounding community. One of the highlights of the work is that college students have the opportunity to interact with students younger than them, which allows them to stay in tune with changing times. 

Sagehens Engage!: Challenges and Successes in Organizing | Cyrus Poteat '17

October 23, 2014Sagehens Engage!:  Challenges and Successes in Organizing | Cyrus Poteat '17

Cyrus Poteat '17 looks back at his first experience organizing Sagehens Engage! and discusses the need for consistent, clear communication with community partners. 

Creating Art with Pomona Partners | Araceli Garcia '17

October 14, 2014Creating Art with Pomona Partners | Araceli Garcia '17

Araceli Garcia '17 reflects on her experience creating art with students at Fremont Academy as part of Pomona Partners programming. 

Coronado Garden Project: A Reflection on its Evolution | Rebecca Baiman '15

September 16, 2014Coronado Garden Project: A Reflection on its Evolution | Rebecca Baiman '15

Becca reflects on how the Coronado Garden Project, which partners with Coronado High School in West Covina to maintain a school garden and implement a curriculum about local food systems, the industrial food system, and food justice has progressed since she has been involved. 

Our Favorite Day of the Week: ESL Mondays

July 16, 2014Our Favorite Day of the Week: ESL Mondays

Eli and Emma co-tutored Maria and Connie, two members of Pomona’s housekeeping staff, throughout the 2013-2014 academic year as volunteers for the Draper Center's ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutoring Program. The two tutors reflect on this very special shared experience.

Oh the places you'll go! | Eric Martinez

April 29, 2014Oh the places you'll go! | Eric Martinez

A reflective piece of the time Eric has spent with the Draper Center.

The Post Bac: Social Justice Work and Professional Preparation | Priscila Garcia

April 10, 2014The Post Bac: Social Justice Work and Professional Preparation | Priscila Garcia

As the Post Baccalaureate for Educational Outreach at the Draper Center, my primary role is working alongside Sergio Marín to coordinate the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), K-12 Campus Programs, and TER (Draper Center’s training committee).  With PAYS, I consistently work with approximately 90 high school students, supporting their academic and professional achievement through high school and the college admissions process. K-12 Campus Programs, on the other hand, requires that I make quick, meaningful connections with K-12 students.  In order to do so, I assist the committee in organizing campus visits, college workshops, and student panels that will appeal to the diversity of students and spark their interest in college.  Finally, as part of the training committee, I help design and facilitate training sessions for the Draper Center staff.

Art Making in Community | Karen Herrera

April 3, 2014Art Making in Community | Karen Herrera

Karen describes her work alongside the students from Monterey Continuation High School in East Los Angeles to create a unique mural.  

Fremont on Air | Sarah Buchhorn

March 31, 2014Fremont on Air | Sarah Buchhorn

A glimpse into a project the Pomona Partners program has been working on with Fremont Academy.

Taking Steps to College by Eating Food and Mentioning Gwendolyn Rose | Kimberley Africa

February 17, 2014Taking Steps to College by Eating Food and Mentioning Gwendolyn Rose | Kimberley Africa

A perspective into the work being done by the K-12 Campus Programs Team.

Some Senior Year Sentiments on the Draper Center | Sonya Zhu

December 10, 2013Some Senior Year Sentiments on the Draper Center | Sonya Zhu

As fall semester of senior year comes to an end, I find myself at a roadblock. I do not know where I will be going after I graduate this coming spring, I do not know what I want to do with my life, and I do not know how to even begin painting a colorful picture of a cloudy future. In spite of my uncertainty and worry, I have something to keep me anchored. I have the Draper Center, where I work, reflect, and laugh like I can't anywhere else.

The Importance of Saying Thank You | Madeline Cowen

December 4, 2013The Importance of Saying Thank You | Madeline Cowen

I’ve always valued the Draper Center’s emphasis on reflection—reflection on effectiveness of service, on the success of a program, on personal growth, on any facet of community engagement and how we interact with the world around us—and one of the lessons I’ve learned this year as a new student coordinator is that setting aside time to analyze the work I’ve done is an important priority for me. Reflections are the times to evaluate the assumptions I have and to notice trends in my life, and last week, during our weekly Draper Team meeting, the opportunity to reflect on my experience at the Draper Center led me to what might seem like an obvious conclusion: it’s important to say thank you.

Defining Community Through Language | Rebecca Baiman '15

December 2, 2013Defining Community Through Language | Rebecca Baiman '15

A reflection on the relationship between community, language, and exclusion at the Draper Center.

Planning and Experiencing Reclaiming Self | Kimberley Africa

November 13, 2013Planning and Experiencing Reclaiming Self | Kimberley Africa

A coordinator's glimpse into the planning, execution, and reflection behind the Community Based Research and Learning (CBRL) event Reclaiming of Self.

Falling into Community Engagement! | Ali Goss

November 11, 2013Falling into Community Engagement! | Ali Goss

The month of October was a very exciting month for the Draper Center! As the school year came into full swing, so have our programs! I've watched as my co-workers have poured endless hours of work into their programs and the results are clear! Read about my experience at the Center so far.

Sagehens Engage with Reading to Kids | Eric Martinez

November 1, 2013Sagehens Engage with Reading to Kids | Eric Martinez

On the brisk, sunny morning of October 12, 2013, a group of Pomona College students congregated outside the Smith Campus Center for some mini-bagels and orange juice. In just under an hour, they would set out on the mission of lifetime: to read to kids. Reading to Kids, an LA non-profit, is a “grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading, thereby enriching their lives and opportunities for success in the future”. Sagehens, Engage!, one of the many programs offered through the Draper Center, partnered with Reading to Kids to offer a unique opportunity to the Pomona College community at Esperanza Elementary School.

On Learning to Articulate and Act on Truths | Sarai Jimenez

October 30, 2013On Learning to Articulate and Act on Truths | Sarai Jimenez

I sit on my favorite green, squishy couch, and have my Pandora playlist on as I look through LINC and Rooftop emails. It’s another regular day of office hours in the Draper Center.

Establishing a LIN(k) early! | José Luis Gómez

October 8, 2013Establishing a LIN(k) early! | José Luis Gómez

A look into the work being done by LINC coordinators in preparation for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Los Angeles Alternabreak | Hong Gao

April 10, 2013Los Angeles Alternabreak | Hong Gao

March 17-23 was a very exciting time at the Draper Center as students set out on various community engagement trips throughout California. Learn about the most exciting one: Los Angeles! 

Alternabreak 2013: San Francisco Day 1 | Eric Martinez

March 18, 2013Alternabreak 2013: San Francisco Day 1 | Eric Martinez

Waking up at 7AM is never fun, unless it is for Alternabreak of course! Today was our first day out in the community, we started out our morning in East Palo Alto working at Collective Roots. We learned about the politics and disparities between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, and then proceeded to help in the community gardens, preparing plots for planting and removing weeds surrounding the property. After a quick lunch at Pluto Fresh Foods we proceeded to meet with Pomona alumna Arielle Brown ’11 at the Eastside Arts Alliance where she walked us through the intricate process of storytelling through many fun activities. Finally, we left Oakland for San Francisco and arrived at Laurel Estes’s, Pomona College ’15, for an amazing dinner. All in all we had a pretty successful first day and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the week brings us! Stay tuned! 

Reflection, an Important Part of LINC Tutors' Experience | Hong Gao

March 11, 2013Reflection, an Important Part of LINC Tutors' Experience | Hong Gao

Working with the giggly and energetic fourth graders as a college tutor is definitely fun and enjoyable. In the Vista Elementary classroom that I tutor at, each student gets about ten minutes to work with the tutor one on one on his or her essay. Some fourth graders have trouble with spelling and run-on sentences. Others need more help with organization and adding details to their creative stories. Each student could benefit from more individualized feedback on their own level of writing, which is rather difficult for one teacher to do given the large classroom size. I certainly feel that my time there contributes to the classroom learning and that I am applying what I have learned in school to an important cause. 

ESL Community Event 2012 | Diana Ortiz

February 19, 2013ESL Community Event 2012 | Diana Ortiz

The ESL Tutoring Program celebrated the end of Fall Semester 2012 with a community event with both workers and students. 

Alternabreak is coming! Alternabreak is coming! | Eric Martinez

February 2, 2013Alternabreak is coming! Alternabreak is coming! | Eric Martinez

For more than four months now the Draper Center team has been eagerly making preparations for the Draper Center’s 2013 Alternabreak Program. With trips departing to San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, this year’s program is bound to be packed with exciting engagement and exploration activities.

On Age and Inspiration | Erika Parks

January 22, 2013On Age and Inspiration | Erika Parks

Walking down the path at Pomona, I’m sometimes struck by a certain lack of diversity here. We have a variety of people of different backgrounds, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a non-traditional student at Pomona – someone who has lived and experienced beyond 18-to-22 years.This missing element can be limiting, but there was no lack of age diversity in my Religion, Ethics, and Social Practice class last semester. One third of the students were residents of Pilgrim Pace, a senior community just down Sixth Street.

Pomona Partners Publishes Newsletter!

December 17, 2012Pomona Partners Publishes Newsletter!

Pomona Partners has just completed their Fall newsletter! Students participated in writing content for the publication with the help from our college mentors. Click on the picture and check it out!

Sagehens, Engage! at Pomona Valley Christian Center

November 3, 2012

On Saturday November 3rd, five Pomona College students took part in a Sagehens, Engage! trip to work with the INSAN foundation to prepare and serve lunch to homeless individuals at the Pomona Valley Christian Center in Pomona, CA. Every volunteer had the opportunity to directly serve and interact with individuals from the group of about 40 that we fed, and in reflection, many people spoke about how rare that interaction was in their day to day life, either due to insulation by an elite college or a suburban high school.  Even if we were only able to provide a temporary moment for people to be fed and feel provided for, that is something. In the end, the group was tired and pensive, but happy to have done something truly worthwhile on their weekend.

Social Change Leadership Workshop

October 2, 2012

The Social Change Leadership workshop series gives students an opportunity to develop a social change project from idea to implementation. Read on for more info and to apply!

Alternabreak 2012

March 31, 2012Alternabreak 2012

“What are you doing for spring break?”


“What’s that?”

As one of the 42 students who went on trips to San Francisco (SF), Los Angeles (LA), or San Diego (SD), I know this was a pretty common conversation in the weeks before March 11th to 17th.

Well, according to the Draper Center Programs page,

Alternabreak is a week-long community engagement trip during Spring Break. Students commit their break to volunteering with organizations in the larger community, addressing social issues such as environmental justice, homelessness, and hunger. Coordinators lead three trips each spring, in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

OCCUPY WHAT? A Strategy for Reclaiming the Country

February 13, 2012OCCUPY WHAT? A Strategy for Reclaiming the Country

“Mike Miller has become known as one of the most experienced community organizers in the nation.”
–Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

Mike Miller

Community Organizer

Wednesday, February 15th @ 7:00 PM
Smith Campus Center (SCC) 208
Pomona College

Mike Miller is the founder and Executive Director of ORGANIZE Training Center and a genuine force in the field of community organizing. In a career spanning 50 years, he has worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organizing legend Saul Alinsky, and has played a part in some of the most significant community mobilizations of the late 20th century. He has also published numerous articles on organizing; taught urban politics and organizing at Stanford, University of California, San Francisco State, and elsewhere; and is the author of the book A Community Organizer’s Tale.

Join us as Mr. Miller discusses about the strengths of the OWS movement as well as the critical questions it must face if it is to develop a meaningful strategy for the 99%. He will outline what it might mean to occupy the country and create a movement whose depth and breadth would make it an unstoppable force.

Sponsored by the Pomona College History Department, the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o~Latina/o Studies, and the Draper Center for Community Partnerships.

The 2012 Napier Awards

February 10, 2012The 2012 Napier Awards

The Draper Center for Community Partnerships congratulates Courtney Miller and Celia Neustadt for being selected as this year’s recipients of the Napier Award for Creative Leadership!  These two amazing Pomona College seniors will each receive a $10,000 stipend to implement their creative plan for meaningful social change.

Courtney, who is an International Relations major, will be using her funds to return to southern Peru.  Once there she’ll work with local partners to establish a pilot program for the manufacture and distribution of low-cost ceramic walter filters.  These filters will provide clean water to people in the Puno region and, in the long run, perhaps lead to the creation of a local manufacturing plant.

Celia, a native of Baltimore, will use her award to return to her hometown and partner with local youth to implement a unique program geared toward exposing the inequities of local renewal efforts.  This Sociology major will be applying much of what she has learned to teaching others and fostering a collaborative effort to reclaim public spaces.

This is only the second year of the Napier Initiative, a partnership between the Claremont Colleges and Pilgrim Place designed to both honor the memory of Davie and Joy Napier and foster intergenerational relationships.  Celia and Courtney were selected with 8 other seniors from the five colleges to be Napier Fellows.  Only two of the Fellows are selected to receive the full award.  At a celebratory dinner on February 10th the two Sagehens were announced as this year’s winners.

Second Annual Community Engagement Awards

January 31, 2012Second Annual Community Engagement Awards

The Second Annual Pomona College Community Engagement Awards were held on Wednesday, January 18th at 4:30pm in the Frank Dining Hall Blue Room.  The awards recognized Pomona College students and 5C organizations for their dedication and accomplishments from the fall of 2010 to fall 2011.

Aside from recognizing these students and organizations for their efforts, the event also was designed to honor Dr. King’s legacy of service, and was held two days after the national holiday bearing his name.  Dr. King’s lifetime commitment to social justice is truly an inspiration to all of us at the Draper Center as we strive to carry his aims, passion, and wisdom into the future.

Community Curator - ARTstART Youth Initiative

January 25, 2012Community Curator - ARTstART Youth Initiative

Interested in building relationships with high school students while sharing your love of art? The Claremont Museum of Art is looking to attract two committed students to work as Community Curators who can forge and build relationships with the high school students over time. Candidates should be available 4-5 hours a week, especially Friday afternoons. Read on for more information!

About the Claremont Museum of Art

Led by a committed group of volunteers, the Claremont Museum of Art engages, educates, and inspires by creating community-based arts programming and events that both recognize Claremont’s rich historical artistic legacy and celebrate its continuing creativity. As a ‘museum without walls,’ CMA already sponsors artful evening events, an annual studio arts tour, family art programming, and exhibitions in collaboration with other cultural venues. Its newest offering is ARTstART, a youth initiative that involves college students in mentoring high school students, (ARTstARTers”) who in turn learn about and present lessons about local arts/exhibitions to Claremont elementary students.

Position – “Community Curator”/Mentor – ARTstART Youth Initiative

Under the plan developed with the input of Pomona College’s Draper Center, Community Curators will fulfill the crucial role of connecting ARTstARTers with the arts scene of the 5Cs, as well as the other cultural offerings in the community. Part mentor, part teaching assistant, and part program evaluator, the ideal Community Curator candidate is curious and compassionate, with a passion for learning, and sharing her/his love for the arts. Community Curators need not be artists themselves.

Duties for CCs include: coaching small groups of high school students on public presentation skills, leading small group work during regular Friday afternoon sessions at area museums, assisting high school students with planning arts appreciation lessons for Sycamore elementary school students this semester, and chaperoning students on cultural outings both locally and in Los Angeles.

This position will interface with the CMA’s Project Director for ARTstART, Rich Deely, who is responsible for training the teens, and ensuring the success of the pilot project during academic year 2011-12.

Interested students should contact

Strauss Public Service Awards

January 17, 2012

Are you a Pomona College junior interested in pursuing a life of public service and social change? Do you have a bold or creative idea you would like to implement now?

The Strauss Foundation Public Service scholar­ships are awarded to eligible juniors for high-impact, public-service projects undertaken in their senior year. The award of $10,000 helps with the implementation of the project as the student gains valuable experience and development for a life in service to the wider public.

Pomona College and the Draper Center are honored to be involved with the Strauss Foundation in identifying students for this prestigious award. The deadline for applications is FEBRUARY 6, 2012 at 5:00PM.

The Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation was created as a memorial to the late Don Strauss, who demonstrated a strong, lifelong commitment to public service and education. The Foundation annually awards $10,000 scholarships to no fewer than 14 California college juniors who reflect a similar commitment.

Successful applicants for this round will be current juniors at Pomona College who plan to execute the project during their senior year. Additional eligibility guidelines and information as well as application materials, can be found on the Strauss Foundation website.

Please submit completed applications electronically to Tomás Summers Sandoval and deliver one hard copy to Smith Campus Center 228. The Pomona College deadline for Strauss applications is FEBRUARY 6, 2012 at 5:00PM. Both the digital and hard copies of the application must be received by the deadline.

Davis Projects for Peace

January 6, 2012

Once again, the Draper Center for Community Partnerships is pleased to participate in the Davis United World College Scholars Program in identifying qualified proposals from Pomona College students in consideration for a Davis Projects for Peace award.

Davis Projects for Peace are $10,000 awards given to a students (or group of students) at participating colleges to implement a grassroots project which promotes peace and addresses the root causes of conflict among parties.  The project must be implemented in the summer of 2012.

More information, including a detailed description of possible partnership projects, can be found at their website.

Volunteerism and the Holidays

November 21, 2011

My friends and I often joke that the official start of the holiday season is when Starbucks starts serving drinks in those red winter-themed paper cups. Well, it’s not just the commercial holiday season staring us in the face, it’s also the season of volunteering.

Many Americans use the holidays as a reminder that it’s time for them to to make their annual charitable donations–whether those be money, clothing and food, or even their own time. As this recent story (“Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities To Show Your Gratitude“) from the Huffington Post shows, there are no shortage of volunteer opportunities for those who want to make a difference.

At the Draper Center for Community Partnerships we couldn’t be happier when any student makes the decision to volunteer their time and effort to making our local communities and this world a better place. But what if you’re interested in something more?

Draper Center Winter Grants

November 14, 2011

Do you have an idea for a cool, community engagement project for the winter? Do you need money to help fund that project?

Then apply for a Draper Center Winter Grant!

These grants will provide students with funding for a mutually beneficial community partnership project during the winter and multiply their effort by encouraging community work on campus. The grants are meant to help cover the costs of implementing the service project. Students may use this grant abroad or within their respective local communities. The money from the grant should go towards expenditures for the community engagement project, or for personal expenses to support the project, like transportation and housing. Students may also choose to work independently, with a peer, or with an established organization, if applicable. Projects can be a one-time event or an ongoing endeavor.

More information, including the online application, is available by clicking here.

All completed applications received by the deadline of November 25th @ 5:00PM will be considered.

Please direct all questions to Nicholas Murphy at

Bone Marrow Registry Drive: NOV. 19th

November 6, 2011

One of the easiest ways to make a difference in this world is to connect yourself with the possibility of saving a life.

The Student of Color Alliance (SOCA) is partnering to sponsor a Bone Marrow Registry Drive on Saturday, November 19th, 2011 outside of Frary Dining Hall near the Smith Clock Tower!

Napier Initiative Applications due Oct. 21

October 10, 2011

All current seniors are eligible to apply and compete for the Napier Initiative Award, a $10,000 grant meant to fund a project for meaningful change.  More information about the Napier, including the application requirements, can be found here.

The internal deadline is Friday, October 21st.  All applications materials must be submitted to Professor Tomás Summers Sandoval at the Draper Center (Smith Campus Center 228) by 5:00PM.  Letters of recommendation may be sent under separate cover.

All interested students are strongly encouraged to visit the Draper Center and talk about their application with Maria Tucker or Tomás Summers Sandoval.  We are here to help you put together the most thoughtful application you can.

Welcome to the new and improved website for the Draper Center!

January 21, 2011

The Draper Center is pleased to premiere our brand new website!  Our hope is the new organization and design will foster a greater connection between the Pomona College community and the community-at-large, as well as better share our latest news and valuable community resources.