During my two years at OCAPICA, the experience I have taken away the most is keeping in touch with my fellow scholars and being able to share my college experiences with people I got to know. Personally, I don’t express myself well with others and I only have a few people that I really connected with. Thus, being a part of a family really helped me finished my 2 years of college. College can be a difficult path but knowing that I’m alone in this journey and I have people supporting me along the way, it gave me a drive to work hard and persevere through all the challenges ahead. This program has impacted my life because whenever I’m faced with a problem, I know I will always have someone to talk to about it and have a second family to support me. I’m still on a long road to transferring from community college, and exploring my interests, but I know I can get there if I keep working hard. I would describe OCAPICA not only as a support program, but as a family. There are many people in the program always dedicated to help you become success and achieve your academic and personal goals. OCAPICA is an amazing program that help college students be successful in college and in life.
Paul, 2015 Scholar
Hello, my name is Stephanie and I currently attending Cypress College. I am taking my prerequisites to apply for the ultrasound program. My experience at OCAPICA has been amazing. I feel that all the workshops and reflection this we have done are amazing and they motivate me to keep going and succeed. To keep in mind motivation is key because it really helps get through the day. Even though I wasn’t available for the reunions that we had because of work and school the time I spent with them in the first reunion I felt like I really did belong there and I felt really comfortable.
I felt comfortable talking with the coordinators of the program because when I had a problem I could always talk to them about it. They would give me advice on how I could fix my problems and motivate me to keep going. Overall all the experiences were good and it was an awesome program. So far right now I know that my grades are not good but, I am trying for this semester much harder if I have to take only two classes I will so my GPA is good.
This program gave me an idea of what a career actually is and how hard I have to work to get to it. I feel that this program made my responsible in achieving what I want in life. If I were to explain OCAPICA to an outsider I would say that it is a program that helps you achieve what kind of career you want. It gives you opportunities to be successful, also the coordinators will always be there to help you. I thought the overall it was a beautiful program and experience and the people are great.
As I finished my first year at Cypress College. I will say that it was an OK experience especially since I am this first of my family to attend college.Make sure that you don’t start out with hard classes if you are not ready for them because they will come back and haunt your GPA. Because when you don’t feel comfortable you aren’t going to be successful. Also, if you have a full-time job and you are a full- time student them it will be a full-time failure. I am sorry not to sugar code anything but its the truth if you don’t feel ready for hard classes then you shouldn’t take them.
Stephanie, 2016 Scholar
My community service was a few different events and helping out my mom’s side job of cleaning. The first event I did at Chapman was for an organization that helps the environment. We went to a wetland area in Newport Bay, and learned about invasive plant species that destroy natural plants and harm an ecosystem. We spend the morning pulling out weeds and planting seedlings. Another event I went to was promoted by my church that is in Buena Park, and I just showed up and it was a day to give back to the city of Buena Park. Personally, I don’t live in Buena Park but it’s still in my area that I call home. So I spend that morning washing police cars at the Buena Park station.
What I really love about doing community service is that you get to help others, which then helps someone else. In the Mormon Church one of our values is service, and I spend time helping other not for a signature but because I really enjoy it. I believe that community work benefits everyone, and I always end up learning something new. For example, I never knew that wetlands were so important to maintain our water systems form pollution and hold lots of biodiversity. Yet sadly in California we have killed our wetlands only a few left like Bolsa Chica and Newport bay.
Throughout my community service I find that I have actually grown closer to causes, to friends, or made new friends. I truly do advocate for us to become more eco-friendly. Through community service and classes that I have taken like Ethics and Environmental Chemistry, I have noticed that people neglect our planet. And if we don’t collectively make a difference then the earth will no longer be able to sustain our habits.
Aisha, 2016 Scholar
My name is Amir and I am currently attending California State University of Fullerton pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. College has made me very responsible since you are supposed to read when not specifically told to, study as often as you can and so on. OCAPICA has been great with their workshops. They allow us to keep in touch with some friends who we talk to and work on little workshops together. I would recommend many of my friends to this program if they need advice and a guiding hand for college life.
Amir, 2015 Scholar
Along with academic courses during my first year at UCLA, I am so grateful to be able to work alongside a great and meaningful organization as a volunteer. This year, I have been volunteering at Kindred Spirits Care Farm¾a farm that raises both rescued animals and students of John R. Wooden High School. The two kinds of beings that this farm looks after is what makes it so special. As at-risks students living in low-income areas attend their continuation school at JRWHS, they learn skills, knowledge, and personal mindfulness on the farm. From the farm, the students understand how sustainable gardening works (such as urban permaculture), how to grow their own fruits and vegetables to selling at the farmer’s market, and how to nurture rescued animals given a second chance as them.
Going to Kindred Spirits meant so much to me with my core values¾serving the community, youth, and all living beings. Through the care farm, I could work alongside students who taught me skills and gave me experiences they’ve adapted. As I helped strengthen this community, they’ve also handed down a couple of lessons for me as well. On top of that, learning to care for the animals on the farm made me appreciate and value life so much more. While learning the story of each rescue (from being rescued from transportation to a slaughterhouse to being thrown over the farm’s fence), I understand how important it is to serve other beings aside from humans. Being someone who deeply loves the environment and serving the youth, I could do both at Kindred Spirits.
Because of community service, I am more aware of the effects and results of serving the youth and animal well-being in the community. I am more passionate about mental health among students and the significance of education through different directives. Likewise, I now have a background to persist for environmental and animal advocacy.
Through community service did you find a social issue that you could advocate for? Why or why not?
The community service I participated in with Kindred Spirits influenced me to advocate for social issues such as educational and financial aid for at-risk students in low-income areas. No matter the situation, education is always important and should not be stripped due to social or economic disadvantages. Coming from a low-income background (but fortunate enough to be supported academically and financially through the community), I hope to reinforce and develop these values.
Alongside, working alongside rescue animals inspires me to fight for environmental and food policies, protection, and animal well-being. I cannot stress how much the natural environment is important to me to the point where I have changed my dietary and daily lifestyle. If I can do more work other than changing my daily habits, Kindred Spirits would be the start.
Diana, 2016 Scholar