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Community Involvement Program (CIP)
Phone:209.946.2436 Fax:209.946.2176
cip@pacific.edu
McCaffrey Bulding Rm. 108

Mailing Address:
Community Involvement Program
Center for Student Success
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211

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3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
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A Community of Success

For nearly 50 years, Pacific's Community Involvement Program has been a model of success in helping first-generation, low-income students from the Stockton community achieve their dreams while giving back. 

by Emily Olson '16
Pacific Review, spring 2017

Going to college was never a question for Kori Jones '18. But the ambitious Stockton native didn't always have an answer for how she would get there. 

"My mom told me at a young age that she wouldn't be able to spend money on my education — not because she didn't want to, but because she didn't have it," Jones said.

Jones learned about a path into Pacific when a group of students presented at her high school, the Pacific Law Academy. They talked about the Community Involvement Program (CIP), a comprehensive scholarship program for low-income college students from Stockton, and she knew she had to apply.

Kori Jones '18 and her cohort developed and piloted a youth mentorship program that impressed John Chase of Chase Chevrolet. His gift established the Chase Your Dreams Mentorship program to train 13 CIP students to mentor
40 seventh- and eighth-grade youth each year.
Kori Jones '18

When she finally learned of her acceptance, she knew exactly who to call first: her mom.

"She was crying and I was crying," Jones said, laughing at the memory. "My mom called my grandma and put her on three-way. We were all crying."

For Jones, an education major, attending Pacific was only the first step. Through the CIP program, she's continued to give back to her community in meaningful, lasting ways. She's designed curriculum for the needs of her freshmen peers, co-launched a youth mentorship program with Karina Davalos, and collaborated with CIP staff and alumni to organize a conference for nearly 400 high school students. But among her greatest achievements was inspiring her mom to follow her lead in pursuing a Pacific education. In fact, today she is a fellow CIP student with her daughter. 

For nearly 50 years, Pacific's CIP program has developed strong student leaders like Jones who possess an ambition for the future without forgetting where they came from.

And it's been doing so with great success. The program's six-year average graduation rate* of 87 percent far outpaces the national average of 60 percent. Over 1,500 students have graduated from the CIP program since its inception. That's more than 30 students each year who otherwise would not have been able to attend college.

A model for student success

The Community Involvement Program was founded in 1969, the result of a movement led by Pacific students, faculty and staff who wanted to diversify the campus by helping first-generation, low-income freshmen and transfer students from Stockton access higher education. In addition to receiving need-based scholarships, CIP students get help navigating college with resources like tutoring, peer mentoring and networking with an extensive alumni group. 

Right from the start, the program promotes a family atmosphere, said CIP Director Allison Dumas. The incoming class of 40-50 students gets acquainted during a summer retreat. The new students take the same freshmen seminar course, "What is a Good Society?," and meet monthly with the upper-division students.

CIP statisticsCollectively, CIP students impact Pacific with their presence — they display characteristics like "diversity, resilience and passion," said Dumas. "It's all things that these students have actualized and are able to bring to the next level. Pacific shapes the students, but the students help shape Pacific." 

Individually, CIP students seek out and excel in campus leadership roles. Current Associated Students of University of the Pacific (ASuop) President Wyatt Bacon '17 chose Pacific because of CIP's financial support. His early days in the program inspired him to take a position with the Center for Community Involvement, which coordinates student-directed programs in tutoring and mentorship.

"You learn a lot about community and what it takes to make a good one," Bacon said. "You learn what it means to be a good neighbor. "The political science major drew on that ideology in his successful campaign to become president of ASuop. His goal is to unify student groups across campus and increase Tiger pride.

"Many alumni have stayed local and are very active in Stockton" through nonprofits or their day jobs, said Dumas. "They continue to effect change in the community and we're very proud of that."

Others go on to find success beyond Stockton — whether in the world of music, like top rock musician Chris Issak '81, or "out of this world," like astronaut Jóse Hernández '84. Hernández, a former member of Pacific's Board of Regents, spent his early childhood as a migrant farm worker, traveling between California and Mexico to pick fruits and vegetables with his family. They moved to Stockton permanently when Hernández began third grade, and he immersed himself in education.

"My mom would sit us down at the kitchen table, and we wouldn't be allowed to leave until we finished our homework," he said in an interview with CNN Money. "She motivated all of us by having confidence and high expectations. It wasn't if we went to college, it was when."

CIP helped Hernández make it to Pacific financially, but also made him feel comfortable and welcome. "It gave me a sense of belonging," he said. "It also gave me a sense of family."

It was the support he needed to get through an engineering degree. He'd continue on to become a mission specialist on NASA's international space station, a position he achieved after persevering through eleven rejections. And like many CIP alumni, he's still giving back to the community. His scholarship foundation, Reaching for the Stars, helps inspire youth in central California to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Centered on community

CIP princesses and superheroes like "Incredible Hulk"
Juan Carlos Rangel '18 read and autographed books to
help get kids excited about reading during Stockton's annual
Family Day in the Park.
Superheroes at the park

Each incoming cohort designs and executes an ongoing project based on what they identify as needs in the community.

In 2013, that philosophy resulted in Read with a Superhero, an event in partnership with Pacific's Beyond Our Gates Program and Stockton's Family Day in the Park. After collecting gently used books throughout the year, CIP students dressed as superheroes and read aloud to children, autographed the books and influenced young readers.

Since then, students in CIP have supported St. Mary's Interfaith Community Services in providing families with Thanksgiving dinners, Child Abuse Prevention Council events including holiday family adoptions, local schools with literacy and college bound workshops, and inspired nearly 400 youth to persevere through adversity in the first annual Building Leaders Overcoming Challenges With Knowledge (BLOCK) conference held last November.

The CIP Student Association prepared baskets for its annual Thanksgiving food drive, distributed to families in need by St. Mary's Interfaith Community Services and Stockton Food Bank.
Thanksgiving outreach

"It's not cookie cutter things the students find and implement," Dumas said.
"It's not about CIP — it's about how we can make great things even better."

When Jones saw a need to make things even better, she received the support from CIP to make it happen. After an idea for ongoing youth mentorship had been tossed around in cohort discussions, Jones and another student wrote the curriculum and brought it to local elementary schools.

They worked with fourth- and fifth-graders on a biweekly basis, tailoring lesson plans after each session to better fit the students' needs. When they noticed the students' limited writing skills inhibited understanding, the mentors designed drawing activities. But the biggest breakthrough came when Jones realized that academic support alone was not enough.

CIP students volunteer in many ways in the community in addition to outreach programs they create. Below, Adriana Pantoja '17 and Somarly Tep '17 help build a home on this
Habitat for Humanity Project.
Habitat for Humanity work day

"We work with a lot of students who aren't from great backgrounds," she said. "It's hard for them to grow in academics if they don't have self-esteem." After that, they shifted their focus to include more lessons on wellness and social behavior. The program was a success, and CIP quickly found a $50,000 sponsor, John Chase of Chase Chevrolet in Stockton, to keep it going. The Chase Your Dreams Mentorship Program now trains 13 CIP students to serve 40 seventh and eighth grade Stockton students every year.

The ability to put ideas into action is Jones' favorite thing about CIP.

"If you have a passion about something and want it to happen, there are people who will support you," she said. "You don't get that at a lot of places."

Growing role models

According to Dumas, what makes CIP unique is its cyclical nature: "The alumni serve as excellent role models for our current students, and the current students serve as excellent role models for the youth in our community."

It's not just youth who are the beneficiaries of CIP. Through her leadership and academic success, Jones hoped to inspire an important family member to give college a shot — her mother. Shortly after Jones started at Pacific, her mom quit her job and began taking classes at Delta Community College. Her daughter motivated her to apply — and she got in.

"We're CIP classmates," Jones said, the pride in her voice unmistakable. "We're going to graduate together." In the meantime, they greet each other with hugs and encouragement around campus. 

"She tells me she's proud of me all the time," Jones said. But like a true leader, Jones is sure to take a step back and say, "Mom, I'm proud of you."  

--- 
*The six-year graduation rate is a national benchmark tracked by the U.S. Department of Education for first-time, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year institution who complete a bachelor's degree within six years.

Alison Dumas

Meet Alison Dumas

Leading from the heart

She knows it's coming every year, but CIP Director Allison Dumas still gets emotional when commencement day arrives. Her love for CIP is so clear that when Vice President for Student Life Patrick Day saw her waiting to congratulate students last year, he laughed and said, "Oh no, you're going to start crying again, aren't you?"

Dumas has worked for the CIP program for nearly 30 years, but for her, it hardly feels like she's worked a day. She believes she's just planting seeds for success and can sit back and watch the students grow into leaders.

A first-generation, low-income student herself, Dumas attended Delta College before transferring to the University of California, Davis. Between helping out at home and working several jobs, she struggled in academics. "I didn't even know what questions to ask," she said. She couldn't afford orientation, felt lost in her classes and hated financial aid forms.

In one of her work-study jobs with the California Student Aid Commission (Cal-SOAPS), Dumas mentored migrant youth, giving them support in navigating college. She answered the very questions she never had the resources to ask. "It was incredibly empowering," she said.

After college, Dumas sought opportunities where she could continue to make a difference. After 25 years as a mentor with CIP, she stepped into the role of director in 2012. And she hasn't looked back.

With CIP approaching its 50th anniversary, Dumas' main goal is to continue expanding the legacy. Since taking the helm of CIP, she's fostered additional community partnerships, expanded the alumni network and shifted the learning outcomes to reflect community service needs.  

"We focus on what we can do. It's not about how many hours we served but about what impact we made." — Alison Dumas, director of the CIP Program

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