gavilan college juvenile justice program
Gavilan College’s Annette Gutierrez (from left), Noah Lystrup and Susan Sweeney were part of the team that submitted a successful grant application that netted the college $1.5 million for its Juvenile Justice program. Contributed photo
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Gavilan College was awarded $1.5 million to create a program to serve students in juvenile detention.

The funds, awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, will create the “Gavilan College Higher Aspirations Juvenile Justice Program” over the next five years, a part of the Rising Scholars Network, beginning in January.  

The college’s goal is to expand its Higher Aspirations Program to serve juveniles in Santa Clara and San Benito counties in three areas:   

1. Academic course offerings within detention centers and alternative high schools 

2. Transition into campus programming 

3. Access to services providing basic needs such as food, transportation, shelter, books and mental health support  

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Gavilan Superintendent/President Pedro Avila said. “This grant is an investment from California to use higher education to mitigate the impacts of mass incarceration. Gavilan College has the unique opportunity to lead the state’s efforts in helping reduce recidivism, change lives and build stronger communities. These are perfect examples of our equity efforts in action.” 

Gavilan intends to help students through case management, personal, academic and career counseling, access to internships and apprenticeship opportunities, peer mentoring, in-person, online, and hybrid academic course/program offerings, and direct support services. 

The college will work with continuation schools and juvenile halls in both counties. 

“The project came to fruition because of the collaboration of dedicated individuals in Student Services and Academic Affairs who are committed to the success of youth in our community,” said Gavilan’s Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Student Services Renee Craig-Marius. “I want to acknowledge the team who worked on and submitted the winning grant application: Annette Gutierrez, Director of Basic Needs; Susan Sweeney, Dean of Career Education Workforce and Educational Partnerships; Noah Lystrup, Dean of Student Learning, Equity, Success for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and Lelannie Mann, Interim Director Community Education and Career Pathways.”

The funds will be used to develop a program structure, hire a full-time staff member dedicated to the Juvenile Justice program, provide support to the Higher Aspirations Counselor/Coordinator, and scale the peer mentor program.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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