Cal Poly Pomona’s Care Center officially opened this month providing overwhelmed students to find the necessary resources available to help them succeed in their college and personal lives.
After deciding to hold off on the grand opening to ensure their new services and features were up to par, the Care Center has started providing students with Basic Needs services to assist students in their time of need and act as an advocate for them.
The Care Center hopes to increase the number of students who take part in the different programs. Last semester the center helped over a thousand students through little advertising, word of mouth or dropping by. Now, the center anticipates a dramatic increase in students with more outreach and marketing.
Weston Prisbrey, the interim assistant dean for health and well-being described more in detail his purpose for the center.
“My main goal for students who access the Care Center is they feel like their needs were addressed and they feel like someone cares about them and that they are not alone,” said Prisbrey. “They don’t have to struggle or go through things by themselves and that there’s people who are willing and wanting to get them connected to resources.”
There are nonclinical case management services where case managers are responsible for providing support managing students’ personal, social and academic success, as well as assisting in navigating campus and/or community resources.
There is also the Basic Needs initiative that includes services like CalFresh, a food assistance program. The Clothes Closet gives students access to gently used professional clothing. There are also emergency grants that students can apply for, and the center also provides temporary and/or emergency housing. In the coming future, the center also hopes to provide medical outreach and connecting students with various applications including Medi-Call and CalWORKs.
According to Ontara Chowdhury, a science, technology and society student, the Clothes Closet has been extremely helpful in providing resources to her and her friends.
“It’s been really beneficial because I didn’t know about this and now it’s spreading so it’s, in a way, good to know that we have all these resources, and we can rely on them whenever we want to,” said Chowdhury. “My friend really needed a professional outfit, so I was like ‘oh Clothes Closet is the best place to get your professional outfit.”
The Care Center also is working on helping decrease the stigma of asking for help with intentional outreach from students who have prior accessed the services that act as an advocate toward other students, as well as professors that are concerned with their students.
“We want to let students know that they aren’t alone and asking for help is OK and there’s people that are there for them,” said Prisbrey.
Student Assistant of the Care Center, Emily Vargas, explains the importance of the Care Center and how it is a place to get all your questions and needs met.
“I think students should just know we are here as a resource and to get you connected to provide any support that we can. Being a college student, it is very difficult to at times assimilate and adjust to a new environment,” said Vargas. “So the center is just really a place for you to help navigate those resources, see what resources are available to you to help you navigate through college and make sure that you accomplish your end goal.”