FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2005
College Raises Hurricane Katrina Relief Funds
The impact of hurricane Katrina continues to reverberate through the U.S. as stories of incredible damage and displaced families permeate international, national, regional and local news. Nearly every news story includes mention of what support organizations, businesses, cities, towns and average Americans are doing to help support relief and rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast.
Locally, College of the Canyons has partnered with the Santa Clarita Chapter of the American Red Cross to raise funds for hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The Associated Student Government has been collecting money -- a dollar at a time -- since last week in a program it calls Dollars for Disaster. The current campaign calls for selling paper hearts for a dollar on which donors write their names. The hearts are hung in the atrium of the Student Center on campus and the hope is to completely paper the atrium in a quest to raise $10,000.
At the same time, the California Community College Chancellors office in Sacramento has issued a call to raise additional funds throughout Californias 109 college system to aid the battered community and technical colleges in the Gulf region. The intent of this initiative is to raise more than $1,090,000 to assist community college colleagues, in Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf Coast. This translates to roughly a $10,000 fundraising goal for each California campus. Campuses hope to achieve their goals in the next 60 days.
The student government at College of the Canyons intends to incorporate a Dollars for Disaster fundraising element to most events held on campus until the goals are met. For instance, a September 19 event celebrating Constitution Day will include collections of spare change as well as materials such as diapers and baby food that are on the Red Cross short list of items that theyll accept.
During last Saturdays COC football game against Grossmont College, it was announced that the net proceeds from the game would be applied towards fundraising goals. This, by itself, contributed more than $2,000 to the relief effort that has collected in excess of $3,300 so far.
College officials have also cleared the way to accept any displaced Gulf Coast residents who may be relocating to the Santa Clarita Valley and who are interested in pursuing college degrees. We are prepared with specially designated counselors to help relocated students make a smooth transition, said Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Superintendent-President of College of the Canyons. We have dozens of Late-Start classes that people can take with start dates throughout October, we are adding classes all the time, stressed Van Hook, and we are blessed with a talented and innovative faculty and staff who continually show their deep compassion and will always find a way to help when it is most needed. Van Hook also noted that, should a group of students be relocated to Santa Clarita with common educational needs in core subjects, classes could be added specifically for them due to the colleges ability to be flexible.
The college stands ready to provide assistance through its Career and Job Placement Center, Financial Aid Office and to provide necessary referrals through its Health Center. College of the Canyons also stands ready as a location for a local blood drive should the Red Cross or other agency determine that it is necessary.
Legislation has moved through the California legislature and is currently on the Governors desk that would the waive higher, non-resident fees for community college students, allowing students to enroll in community colleges at the California resident rate, currently $26 per unit. If those fees are adjusted, access to higher education for the displaced people will be greatly improved.
The college also stands ready to assist in other financial ways, fully understanding that students who have left everything behind may not have money for books and supplies.
College of the Canyons looks forward to working with local government and relief organizations to provide whatever assistance it can over the long haul, said Dr. Michael Wilding, Vice President of Student Services at the college, since the impacts ofthis disaster will be with us for many years to come.
Anyone in the community wishing to contribute to the fundraising efforts of the college should call the Student Development Office at the college at (661) 362-3238.