“Camino de Amistad” Celebrates 15th Anniversary
(Santa Ana, CA)—On Saturday, July 29, Santa Ana parent Gabriela Lemus will lace up her walking shoes as she has done for the past 14 years to participate in the “Camino de Amistad.” This annual event increases awareness of how to access higher education and helps prepare Santa Ana high school students and their parents to take advantage of educational opportunities. The “Camino de Amistad” is sponsored by the “Padres Promotores de la Educación,” part of the Santa Ana Partnership.
By 8 a.m., Lemus will join some 500 community volunteers taking part in the walk this year. The volunteers will begin the fifteenth annual “Camino de Amistad” at six high schools in the Santa Ana Unified School District – Century, Godinez, Saddleback, Santa Ana, Segerstrom, and Valley.
Volunteers will arrive at the high schools beginning at 8 a.m. and from 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., they will begin walking targeting neighborhoods where school-to-home communication and registration rates have been the lowest. Volunteers will talk to parents and hang door hangers. Parent and high school volunteers will canvas neighborhoods as they distribute 30,000 door hangers listing the dates for high school registration, the first day of school, back to school night, and college night.
Why does Lemus devote a Saturday to this event? It’s simple. “Because ‘Padres Promotores’ has helped me and my family, I want to give a little to the community. If my children could go to college, I know other children in the community can go,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you have money or not or even documents, we can make a difference and help more of our children to advance.”
As volunteers knock on doors, they often find local parents who are anxious for the information, reports Lemus. Besides delivering the door hangers, the walkers share upcoming high school open house dates and invite parents to visit the Higher Education Centers at Santa Ana high schools.
“It’s important that parents have key information on time,” said Lemus. “Although children are given flyers to take to their parents, many times they don’t even leave their backpacks. The parents are grateful to see us because they want to take advantage of what the community has to offer. We all want our children to excel and become professionals and to do better.”
A free lunch will be provided for volunteers at noon at Santa Ana High School. Key partners in the “Camino de Amistad” are the Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Ana College, Latino Health Access, Delhi Community Center, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, and the Minnie Street Learning Center.
For more information about the “Camino de Amistad,” contact Rosa Harrizon at (714) 564-6450 (office) or at (714) 726-6532 (mobile).
About Padres Promotores de la Educación
Parent promoters actively link parents to school services and deliver information on higher education to the community through non-traditional methods such as home visits, existing neighborhood associations, and informal educational dialogues. The program began in 2001 and is administered by Santa Ana College. All nine Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) middle schools and six comprehensive high schools participate in the program. Since 2001, more than 1,000 parents from Santa Ana have been trained and served as “Promotores de la Educación” and more than 16,000 home visits have been conducted, as well as 800 community-based forums.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
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