On Friday, January 24, the Draper Center for Community Partnerships celebrated its move to a new 2,452 square-foot home. The new location provides a comfortable and flexible workspace that allows for both organization of and reflection upon the Center's community engagement activities.
The Draper Center's new location, at 735 Dartmouth Ave., is immediately west of the Robert E. Tranquada Student Services Center. With the goal of creating a comfortable and flexible workspace, the fully remodeled building contains six staff offices, an office for student coordinators and an adaptable conference room designed to allow for expansion of the adjacent commons area in order to accommodate large group meetings. The lounge has a full kitchenette, tables and window seat. The entry patio area has outdoor tables and seat walls to allow for casual small group activities.
Best-known for its flagship Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), the Draper Center coordinates many of the College's community engagement programs, with a focus on mutually beneficial exchanges. These include educational outreach and community-based research and learning, as well as a range of other community activities. In 2012-13, Pomona College students spent approximately 20,000 hours doing community service. That same year, more than 2,000 youth visited the Pomona campus for tours and workshops.
"When I think about what it's like to work at the Draper Center, so many students and projects come to my mind," says Maria Tucker, director of the Draper Center. "Lives are transformed because of the work we do. Students who engage with the Draper Center change their ideas about what they want to do after college. We're very much about students bearing their added once they leave Pomona.
"It's exciting and fulfilling to be part of the [College] mission and witness lives being transformed, by access to education most especially. I think of all of the students who've learned how to make change, and they've learned that through the programs at the Draper Center."
In fact, the Draper Center offers an annual Social Change Leadership Workshop Series. In its second year and offered in conjunction with the Claremont McKenna College Kravis Leadership Institute, the five-week series is a co-curricular course taught by Echoing Green fellow Emily Arnold-Fernández '99, founder of the groundbreaking international human rights organization Asylum Access and recent winner of the prestigious Grinnell Prize for Young Innovators in Social Justice. At the end of the workshops, students will have completed a full business plan, including a financial plan, and developed a compelling 90-second pitch.
Other upcoming events include a campus visit by approximately 700 AVID (Advancement by Individual Determination) program students from 21 high schools in Orange County, California, on Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. Faculty and approximately 30 Pomona students will lead workshops and give tours. AVID students are generally first-generation, low-income students.
Alternabreak offers students an option to more traditional spring break activities with five days of community service and engagement activities. The trips, located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, feature intergenerational Pomona connections as student participants often have dinner or stay with alumni. Information sessions on the 2014 Alternabreak will be held Feb. 7 and 8, at 7:30 p.m., at the Draper Center.
Theatre for Young Audiences is a collaboration between the Pomona College Department of Theater & Dance, Fremont Academy for Engineering and Design in Pomona, and the Draper Center. Working with seventh, eighth and ninth grade students from Fremont Academy, college students develop theater literacy, mentorship and teaching skills; co-create curriculum; and support the creation and performance of the spring semester production, which Fremont students write.
Another academic component of the Draper Center its partnership with faculty to support 18 courses with community partnership components. The latest additions are Mathematical Modeling (MATH183) with Prof. Blerta Shtylla, Principles: Microeconomics (ECON052) with Prof. Fernando Lozano, Sociology of Globalization with Prof. Nikki Lisa Cole,sa and Tennis "Fun"damentals (PE077D) with Prof. Steve Bickham.
The Draper Center Open House will also be a celebration of Prof. Summers Sandoval's new book Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community & Identity in San Francisco, detailing the experiences of Latin American immigrants and their descendants in San Francisco over the course of a century and a half. Summers Sandoval is the Draper Center faculty coordinator.