IDEAS club raises funds for scholarships for undocumented

Jackie Cobos, Channels Staff

Financial scholarships are crucial for undocumented students at this time in the wake of the Trump administration.

According to a statement from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, applications for state financial assistance from undocumented students have dropped 40 percent from last year, from 34,000 applications to 20,000.

“It’s apparent that the national conversation surrounding immigration and deportation has created an

environment that is confusing and threatening to many of our students,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California community colleges chancellor, in the statement.

To provide financial assistance for undocumented students, the reestablished Improving Dreams Equality Access and Success (I.D.E.A.S.) club fundraises money for scholarships for its active club members.

The club was established in 2007 and was reinstated Aug. 22, 2016 by advisors Alejandra Martinez and Saul Quiroz. It currently has 10 active members, including sociology and criminology major Leslie Marin, who serves as the club’s co-chair.

“Being part of this club has made me feel like my voice matters,” club co-chair Leslie Marin said. “Every member and our club advisors are extremely supportive and are always willing to help each other.”

Members have worked hard in organizing fundraisers to raise money for the club and for scholarships. Recently, they had a food fundraiser that took place on Jan. 25 at La Cumbre Junior High School where they sold snacks. The club raised about $100 and used some of the proceeds towards making club banners.

Last semester, the club had a bake sale on Oct. 31 on campus and a fundraiser at Pizza Rev on Nov. 18.

The club’s mission is “to mobilize young students in larger social movements for equal access to an education, immigration reform and social justice,” according to its Instagram page.

The California Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (D.R.E.A.M.) Act inspired the club to encourage high school students to register for college.

Being an undocumented student is hard sometimes because we have questions most people can’t answer, like how to fill out the D.R.E.A.M. Act application instead of the F.A.F.S.A. application,” Marin said.

The act allows undocumented students who were brought to the United States when they were under age 16 and have met in-state GPA requirements to apply for financial aid benefits and scholarships.

The club will host an equity and diversity conference for youth from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 called “My Voice, My Community, My Life” where members will speak and fundraise to continue support for the club. The public is invited and encouraged to come.

All students are welcome to also participate in a financial aid workshop that will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m March 1 at the Student Services Center Room 250.

“I just think inclusively of everyone and offer this as a support group, especially for everyone at this time,” Martinez said. “We try to be supportive of everyone no matter what their political views are.”