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East Valley Focus

VAN NUYS : College Program to Aid Latino Students

August 10, 1993|JEFF SCHNAUFER

Valley College will implement a new project in the fall semester to increase the number of Latino community college students transferring to four-year colleges and universities.

Called the Puente Project, the program deals with three factors that often prevent Latino students from succeeding: problems with writing skills, lack of professional role models and insufficient knowledge of the educational system, said Shannon Stack, Valley College public relations specialist.

"We have a lot of Latino students. A lot of them, though, tend not to finish," Stack said. "This is designed to give them peer support, role models, counseling, tutorials and a number of things that really help them get to where they want to go."

The effort marks the first incarnation of the Puente Project in the the San Fernando Valley, according to Stack. East Los Angeles Community College was the first to implement the program in the Los Angeles Community College District a few years ago, Stack said.

Of the 18,000 students who attended Valley College during the 1992-93 school year, about 24.2% were Latino, Stack said. Statewide, between 50% and 60% of Latinos drop out of community college, she said.

About 50 students will initially participate in the program, which will be run by a Latino counselor and an English instructor and begin Aug. 23. The Puente Project is funded by several corporations and is in operation at 30 of the 107 California community colleges.

Students wishing to apply or mentors interested in being role models should call Louis Garcia at the school.

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