Students who are selected to attend the College 2 Career program at Long Beach City College have important responsibilities. They are required to enroll in a certificate or degree program, and work towards eventual employment after graduation. As they move into student housing, they learn to maintain their own student apartments, become mobile around the community, and work together with their newfound friends and roommates. 12 students kicked off the program in 2011, and six more have joined them in year two. While all of the students are making great progress, two have recently been recognized for outstanding achievement, with scholarship awards from Long Beach City College.
Casey Overcomes Past Challenges
Casey Reed-Massey recalls that his early years were not easy, and that while in middle and high school, he experienced bullying and trouble with his school work. After being diagnosed with an intellectual disability, he was introduced to Harbor Regional Center, and HRC Counselor Cassie Forrest, who thought he would be a great candidate for the new C2C program. Prior to entering the C2C program, he had attended LBCC “off and on” for a couple of years. According to Casey, having people to help him along made all the difference in helping him to focus and succeed in his studies. “You need a helping hand once in a while. You’re not doing it all by yourself.” Looking around the C2C student apartment he now shares with roommate Sam, he adds, “I wouldn’t have any other place to go, otherwise.”
Casey recalls, “When I got the call saying that I was selected, I jumped for joy. It has been almost a year since I have joined the program and I have accomplished so much. With this program I have done things that I didn’t think I could do on my own. When it comes to school, they have really helped me a lot.”
Casey has already earned two certificates for culinary arts, for Servsafe and Food Prep. “My life was hard that’s no lie, but I keep going. And it will be thanks to them for getting me back on track.” Casey dreams of having his own restaurant someday. Congratulations to Casey for receiving the Henry J. Meyer Family Scholarship through the Long Beach City College Foundation.
Yorel Steps Out Of His Comfort Zone
Yorel Gertman confides that he also endured years of bullying and abuse in his teen years, to the point that he considered suicide. He credits his mother and his longtime talent for music for getting him through emotionally hard times. As he grew older he developed an increased understanding of autism, and of his struggles to communicate with others. He became an accomplished musician in classical, as well as hip-hop and rap music, and gained recognition for combining all three.
Now as a College 2 Career student he is working towards an AA degree in music at Long Beach City College. Through C2C, he was able to participate in an internship with media production services. “I learned quite a lot as far as filming, audio engineering, video editing, and music production. It also got me of my comfort zone. I had to learn to create better teamwork. C2C requires a lot of hard work, serious studying, and serious participation to stay in the program. It is all about being independent while continuing college despite your disability.” Yorel hopes to “give back to the community as an independent performing artists and autism advocate.” Congratulations to Yorel for receiving the Friends of Long Beach City College Scholarship.
Partners enjoy promoting student success
From program development, coordination and oversight by Harbor Regional Center, to educational coaching and counseling by Long Beach City College, student housing by HOPE, and resident advising by California MENTOR… together we watch all of the students blossom, and look forward to seeing them reach their goals. We will continue to work together, supplying our own unique resources, so that students like Casey and Yorel can succeed.
More information and applications for College 2 Career can be found on the HRC website.