145 search results for "sparkpoint"

SparkPoint and Skyline College Highlighted in National Student Food Insecurity Report

SparkPointIn 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) started their work on a national report covering student food insecurity and the promising programs currently being offered to address this issue at the college level. The research team contacted SparkPoint at Skyline College and requested a full day of interviews with staff, faculty and administrators from across the campus, as well as a confidential student focus group. Data was collected for over a year and the report was released on January 9, 2019 (link below).

Highlights from the report:

  • Researchers interviewed universities and colleges from six states. Skyline College was the only community college from California selected for an interview.
  • As of September 2018, over 650 colleges reported having a food pantry on campus. This number has been growing steadily.
  • Of the 3.3 million students who were potentially eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2016, less than half said they participated.
  • The report starts with the following quote, which expresses the impact that student food insecurity can have on the national educational system and budget:

“In fiscal year 2017, the federal government spent over $122 billion in grants, loans and work-study funds through federal student aid programs to help make college accessible to students. This substantial federal investment in higher education is at risk if college students drop out because they cannot afford basic necessities like food.”

  • Recommendation: Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) should clarify the rules and share information on how states help eligible students use SNAP.

This report will increase awareness about the national issue of student food insecurity and prompt more lawmakers, colleges and communities to take action. Please share this report with any colleagues and any other interested parties.

If you have any questions about the report or would like to get more involved with programs addressing student food insecurity at Skyline College, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint at Skyline College, thompsonc@smccd.edu.

You can access the full report here: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-95.

 Article by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Accepting Applications for Spring 2019 Grove Scholarships

Grove ScholarshipsSparkPoint at Skyline College is currently accepting scholarship applications for 25 Career and Technical Education (CTE) students in the Spring 2019 cohort. Grove Scholarship applications are available online at www.skylinecollege.edu/sparkpoint and are due by February 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

Eligible students will be selected for the program based on three short personal statements that describe who they are, why they have chosen their career path and why financial literacy is important to them. Academic standing and GPA are not a factor in selection, as long as the student meets the minimum requirement of a 2.0 GPA and 75% completion rate. Once being selected for the Grove Scholars Program, students will receive individualized financial coaching and career counseling, as well as a $2,000 scholarship for the semester.

If you would like to refer a student to the Grove Scholars Program or if you would like a SparkPoint staff member to share scholarship information or other SparkPoint Services with your class or program, please call (650) 738-7035, or email our SparkPoint Coordinator, Flor Lopez, at lopezf@smccd.edu.

SparkPoint is located in Building. 1, Room 1-214.

Article and Photo by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Presents at the California Guided Pathways Demonstration Project

flor lopezSparkPoint was asked to present at the California Guided Pathways Demonstration Project on September 7, 2018.

Flor López, the SparkPoint Coordinator and Financial Coach, presented to administrators, faculty and staff from community colleges across California in a breakout session titled, “Ensuring Basic Needs Are Met: Skyline College’s SparkPoint Program.” The break out session was designed to highlight SparkPoint at Skyline College’s services including: financial coaching, benefits access, the food pantry, housing resources and the role SparkPoint plays in connecting students with on and off campus partners. She shared strategies on how to provide student services with equity and dignity as the foundation for a student-centered program. Highlighted in the presentation was the partnership that SparkPoint and the Promise Scholars Program has in assisting students complete a Financial Game Plan and the importance of outreaching to students in their first year.

The presentation was well attended and was an excellent opportunity to present to community colleges wanting to address the basic needs of their students. The individuals present in the break out session had questions about program development, funding and strategies to connect with community organizations in their area.

Now, more than ever, community colleges are understanding that hunger, housing insecurity and financial burdens make it very challenging for students to succeed in higher education. SparkPoint at Skyline College is seen as an example of a program that provides holistic financial supports for students and we always welcome the opportunity to share what we have learned with other campuses.

For more information regarding the SparkPoint at Skyline College, the Food Pantry or the Benefits Office, please contact the SparkPoint at 650-738-7035 or skylinesparkpoint@smccd.edu

Written by: Flor López

SparkPoint Presents on Webinar Addressing Basic Needs Stigma at Community Colleges

John Burton Advocates for Youth has invited SparkPoint at Skyline College to be a panelist on Addressing Stigma: Strategies for Facilitating Access to Basic Needs Support at Community Colleges, a webinar highlighting ways in which colleges can structure services to encourage student access and reduce the potential shame or embarrassment that prevents students from accessing available benefits. This free webinar is on September 27, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. To participate, please register at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2806412563248964099.

Many post-secondary institutions are developing services to help students address basic needs such as food pantries, benefits counseling, and financial literacy support in response to new data on the prevalence of food and housing insecurity among college students. A significant barrier to accessing these types of services, however, can be the stigma often associated with accessing basic needs resources, making students reluctant to engage with available support.

Students who face hunger, malnutrition, an unstable living situation, or homelessness will struggle to reach their full potential in a classroom. Changing the way we address, interact, and intervene on behalf of students can make a monumental impact in their lives and the lives of their families. We continue to look to improve the way we serve these students and remove the barriers they face to reach their goals.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint and Career Services at Skyline College, at thompsonc@smccd.edu.

Article and image by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Snacks Continues to Address Food Insecurity on Campus

SparkPoint has distributed over 4,434 snacks to students in the first three weeks of operations! There are currently thirteen strategically placed SparkPoint Snack baskets around campus, each one hosted by a sponsor program working with SparkPoint to ensure that the baskets are fully stocked and supported at all times. We have also received a number of basket requests from faculty, staff and administrators throughout the campus who want to offer their support to this program and their students. With the help of these host programs, we will continue to disburse more throughout the academic year.

SparkPoint Snacks is a synergistic component of Skyline College’s paradigm of comprehensive support for the whole student. While it addresses food insecurity, it also serves as a point of contact for other SparkPoint services, all of which are specifically designed to assist students to overcome financial barriers – each snack has a SparkPoint business card attached to it in order to connect food-insecure students with CalFresh application assistance, financial coaching, the SparkPoint Food Pantry and more. Since the launch of SparkPoint Snacks, student engagement and requests for these SparkPoint services has steadily increased.

If you have any questions regarding SparkPoint Snacks or other SparkPoint services, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint and Career Services, at thompsonc@smccd.edu.

Article by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Cash Provides Incentives for Positive Financial Behaviors

SparkPoint at Skyline College has launched SparkPoint Cash; a financial education program that rewards students for smart money management.  SparkPoint Cash simplifies the financial coaching process for students by providing them with a menu of positive financial behaviors from which to choose. Students meet with their financial coach, identify a positive financial behavior, accomplish that behavior with the financial coach or on their own and then schedule a check-in meeting.  Students earn $25 for each completed positive financial behaviors for a maximum of $100.

SparkPoint Cash is based on behavioral economic concepts, which SparkPoint at Cañada College successfully implemented in 2016.  The first financial incentives “nudges” students to engage with a Financial Coach and complete a positive behavior, while the additional incentives “nudge” students to complete additional positive behaviors that eventually become positive financial habits.  When students complete behaviors like applying for CalFresh, completing a spending tracker, increasing their savings by $25/month, or review their credit report, they are preparing themselves to overcome potential financial barriers that might otherwise affect their academic success.

These positive financial behaviors and habits could ultimately be a determining factor for a student to persist in their educational program and/or degree, and lead to long-term financial stability and self-sufficiency.

If you have any questions about SparkPoint Cash or if you would like to refer a student to any SparkPoint Services, please contact (650) 738-7035 or skylinesparkpoint@smccd.edu.

Article by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Snacks to Address Food Insecurity on Campus

On August 27, 2018, SparkPoint at Skyline College launched a much-needed project to support student success: SparkPoint Snacks. This project addresses a most basic human need – food – by making free snacks available to Skyline College students with no barriers to access. Intended to dramatically impact student food insecurity and curb the stigma with which it is often associated, SparkPoint Snacks has twelve strategically placed baskets filled with popular snacks around campus, each one hosted by a sponsor program working with SparkPoint to ensure that the baskets are fully stocked and supported at all times. SparkPoint distributed over 2,100 snacks to students in the first week of operations, and will continue to disburse more throughout the academic year.

SparkPoint Snacks is a synergistic component of Skyline College’s paradigm of comprehensive support for the whole student. While it addresses food insecurity, it also serves as a point of contact for other SparkPoint services, all of which are specifically designed to assist students to overcome financial barriers – each snack has a SparkPoint business card attached to it in order to connect food-insecure students with CalFresh application assistance, financial coaching, the SparkPoint Food Pantry and more.

If you have any questions regarding SparkPoint Snacks or other SparkPoint services, please contact Chad Thompson, Director for SparkPoint and Career Services, at thompsonc@smccd.edu.

Article and Photo by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Accepting Applications for Fall 2018 Grove Scholarships

Grove WallSparkPoint at Skyline College is currently accepting scholarship applications for 25 Career and Technical Education (CTE) students the Fall 2018 cohort. Grove Scholarship applications are available online at www.skylinecollege.edu/sparkpoint and are due by September 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Eligible students will be selected for the program based on three short personal statements that describe who they are, why they have chosen their career path, and why financial literacy is important to them. Academic standing and GPA are not a factor in selection, as long as the student meets the minimum requirement of 2.0 GPA and 75% completion rate. Once being selected for the Grove Scholars Program, students will receive individualized financial coaching and career counseling, as well as a $2,000 scholarship for the semester.

If you would like to refer a student to the Grove Scholars Program or if you would like a SparkPoint staff member to share scholarship information or other SparkPoint Services with your class or program, please call 650-738-7035, or email our SparkPoint Coordinator, Flor Lopez, at lopezf@smccd.edu.

SparkPoint is located in Bldg. 1, Room 1-214.

 

Article by Chad Thompson

SparkPoint Highlights Marjourie Quintanilla

Marjourie QuintanillaSparkPoint would like to highlight an amazing Latina, mother, scholar and advocate. Marjourie Quintanilla balances the duties of being a single mother, full-time student, public benefits specialist and active San Bruno community member with grace and commitment. She is always smiling and helpful and she inspires us all. An alumna of Capuchino High School who will graduate from Skyline College this Spring, Marjourie assists students and community members with obtaining and maintaining public benefits at SparkPoint, Skyline College. Marjourie also has spoken to underrepresented minorities at numerous public engagements, including teen mothers from Hilltop High School, PUENTE and La Rasa scholars. She assisted patrons of Skyline College’s library, facilitated a classroom of first graders as part of the Big Lift Summer Camp, and worked with second graders through the Reading Partners program. Marjourie is a recipient of numerous scholarships including the Grove Scholars, Len Herzstein, San Bruno Community Foundation Crestmoor Neighborhood Memorial scholarships.

Marjourie self-identifies as a Latina who wants a better future for her family and for those who do not know their full potential. She believes that “sharing is caring” and that she can reach higher success with an optimistic mindset that encourage and motivates.

In her own words, Marjourie explains how education, resilience and advocacy provide opportunities to shape society for ourselves, for our community and for future generations:

“My story begins with coming to America at the age of 2 years old. I was brought up in a society where as long as you can speak the language, you were welcome. I failed to find my voice until I arrived at Skyline College the second time. I now see how I was part of a system that was broken where instead of helping you succeed, it kept you stagnate. It took living a life without a college degree for me to wake up and start setting goals for myself. I have grown to realize that I can open communications to pave the way for young girls, single mothers, and anyone who feels like they are struggling through life. It’s okay not to have all the answers as long as we keep searching for meaning and practice resilience. As I continue my education I will continue to work with and for my community. I am a strong believer that a sense of community will benefit our future generations.”

This fall Marjourie will transfer to San Jose State University and pursue a degree in social work. We will miss having her beautiful smile and powerful kindness!

Article written by Valerie Higgins

 

SparkPoint Presents at Basic Needs Summit

SparkPoint played an integral role in planning and presenting at The Basic Needs Summit held in Sacramento, California on April 26 and 27.

Administrators, faculty, staff, an student leaders from community colleges across California came together to address the role we play and the collaboration needed to impact the alarming amount of our students who do not have their basic needs met. The summit featured a variety of workshops from leaders and innovators from across the state in which Director of SparkPoint and Career Services at Skyline College, Chad Thompson, was called on to present. Chad spoke about “Innovative Strategies in Taking a Holistic Approach to Overcoming Non-Academic Barriers”. The workshop was designed to educate on the challenges students face in the classroom when their basic needs are not met. He shared strategies to help students and their families overcome these barriers to achieve their educational and financial goals.

More than ever before, colleges are seeking innovative and best practices to address basic needs insecurity among their students. The California Community College Chancellors Office approved a new initiative that includes the formation of a workgroup to identify and share best practices regarding food, housing, and other basic need resources available to students, to assess gaps in resources. That group laid the foundation for what would become the Basic Needs Summit. The summit featured a powerful keynote presentation by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, founder of the Wisconsin HOPE LAB, which is the nation’s only transnational research laboratory seeking ways to make college more affordable. She shared information gathered from a cross-section of colleges across the country, which Skyline College proudly participated in. She also shared information that detailed how the price of attending college is higher than ever while the average family income has become stagnant. Part-time jobs don’t cover as many costs as they used to and competition for these jobs has risen which negatively affects students with impacted schedules. California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley also participated in the summit and discussed the role that administrators and campus leadership play in addressing these issues and meeting the needs of students. His speech and attendance at the summit reinforced the position of the Board to engage issues of basic needs on campus. The San Mateo Community College District was well represented having staff and leadership from all three campuses, as well as the district office in attendance.

Students who face hunger, malnutrition, unstable living situation, or homelessness will struggle to reach their full potential in a classroom. Changing the way we address, interact, and intervene on behalf of these students can make a monumental impact in students’ lives and the lives of their families. We continue to look to improve the way we serve these students and remove the barriers they face to reach their goals.

For more information regarding the SparkPoint at Skyline College, the Food Pantry or the Benefits Office, please contact the SparkPoint at 650-738-7035 or skylinesparkpoint@smccd.edu

For more information on the summit visit http://www.cccstudentmentalhealth.org/training/basic-needs-summit/

Written by Raul Amaya