Grant helps slugs in need, K-12 STEM and literacy, women’s golf

Monterey Peninsula Foundation supports multiple programs at UC Santa Cruz with grant.
Monterey Peninsula Foundation supports multiple programs at UC Santa Cruz with grant.
Alexia Leon, 13, of Castroville, (left) and Brigette Cruz, 13, of Salinas, made a robot that senses motion and tries to smack anything that approaches. Cruz and Leon programmed the robot so a scolding message saying "NOT IN MY HOUSE!" appears on a built-in screen if someone rolls a ball at it. (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)
Alexia Leon, 13, of Castroville, (left) and Brigette Cruz, 13, of Salinas, made a robot that senses motion and tries to smack anything that approaches. Cruz and Leon programmed the robot so a scolding message saying "NOT IN MY HOUSE!" appears on a built-in screen if someone rolls a ball at it. (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Author: 
Gwynn Benner

 

Monterey Peninsula Foundation has announced a $146,000 grant to UC Santa Cruz, funding several programs, including $60,000 to the Slug Support Program’s Student Emergency Fund.

The grant also provides:

  • $36,000 to Literacy Leaders, which holds an intensive training in literacy instruction for K-12 teachers in Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey Counties. The program expects to enhance teaching for 15,000 students each year.

  • $30,000 to Girls in Engineering, a summer immersion program for 8th and 9th grade girls. Women professors and undergraduates lead the students in hands-on engineering experience including computer coding and robotics.

  • $20,000 to UC Santa Cruz’s NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Team. Team members build leadership and networking skills through the extraordinary experience of college-level competition. The team has a 100 percent graduation rate for the past 15 years and also participants in community service activities.

Monterey Peninsula Foundation’s mission is “to enhance the quality of life in Monterey County and surrounding areas through the strategic disbursement of charitable funds generated by hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the PURE Insurance Championship.”

“We are so grateful for this support,” notes Lucy Rojas, Interim Dean of Students. “We will be able to reach so many more students in the coming year with these grant funds.”

Established in 2013, the Student Emergency Fund was created to promote early intervention with students struggling financially to make ends meet. Part of the broader Slug Support program, the Student Emergency Fund provides the critical resources supporting those students most in need.

“Students come to us with issues of food insecurity, high medical bills, loss of family income, or are simply stretched too thin at the end of the month,” says Rojas. “Our goal is to address these financial concerns early and quickly so the situation doesn’t escalate further into a crisis”.

The Slug Support Program is comprised of two Slug Support managers and a Slug Support Team. While the Slug Support Program does not provide counseling directly to students, they work closely with Counseling and Psychological Services to get students the emotional and psychological support they need. Other resources are also brought to bear as cases can be complex with many different confounding concerns going on at once.

“We work with the whole student,” says Erika Pappas, one of two Slug Support managers serving students. “We meet the student where they are in order to address their concerns comprehensively. To effectively and collaboratively develop an action plan, we need to understand all of the issues.”

The cross-divisional, multi-functional Slug Support team meets regularly to review some of the most complex cases that are referred to Slug Support. Resource staff from across the UC Santa Cruz campus work together on issues related to social, mental health, physical, financial, academic and/or a combination of these issues are all addressed.

“We are fortunate to have such a wide group of dedicated team members,” notes Slug Support Manager, Mariah Lyons. “We work well together and can work quickly to reduce barriers and get the students back on track.”

The number of Slug Support student cases has nearly doubled every single year since the program's inception. The first year in 2013-14 the program staff worked on 542 cases. This year as of May 18, 2017, Slug Support was working to resolve more than 2,200 cases. Eighty-four (3.8 percent) of those cases are graduate students.

“We are seeing a concerning upward trend,” notes Rojas. “That is why we are so grateful for the grant funds from Monterey Peninsula Foundation. With this support we can expand our reach and provide a safety net to those students most in need.”

If you are a student or know a student who is in need of support and/or resources, you can visit the Slug Support referral page for instructions on making a referral for services.

To donate to the Student Emergency Fund visit the Online Giving website. For more information about the Slug Support Program, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 831-459-4446 or email at deanofstudents@ucsc.edu.