SF State students earn $10,000 in financial aid for serving the community

Author: Matt Itelson
December 13, 2022
SF State student fellows in the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps help distribute Thanksgiving turkeys and other foods to senior citizens outside the IT Bookman Community Center.
Photo Credit: Paul Asper

‘I’m not just a student anymore. I’m part of the community now, which makes me even happier,’ Childhood and Adolescent Development major Amalia Capilla says

Since childhood, Amalia Capilla has dreamed of becoming a teacher. A Childhood and Adolescent Development major at San Francisco State University, she gains valuable experience by working with families through a nonprofit organization, the Community Alliance for Special Education. But this is no unpaid volunteer internship. Capilla is among 50 San Francisco State students selected to receive up to $10,000 in aid through the new #CaliforniansForAll College Corps.

“I’m connecting everything to my classes and I’m getting so much experience from it,” said Capilla, who plans to graduate in 2023. “I’m not just a student anymore. I’m part of the community now, which makes me even happier.” 

Leaders at the 14 San Francisco nonprofit organizations partnering with SF State are also happier, thanks to the value that students are providing.  

“They are working with our educational program [and] community outreach, and they have been phenomenal in terms working with students who come to our outdoor classroom space,” said Hollis Pierce-Jenkins, executive director of Literacy for Environmental Justice. “We also do advocacy in the community around raising awareness about the concerns around health disparities in the community. They’re monitoring air quality, water and soil.” 

Just before fall break, Capilla and five other SF State student fellows helped distribute Thanksgiving turkeys and other foods to senior citizens at the IT Bookman Community Center. It’s less than a mile from campus in the Lakeview neighborhood.  

Jocelyn Murillo, a second-year Management major, is one of the four students working at Bookman’s community wellness hub that offers hot meals, food distribution, COVID-19 tests and vaccinations and other services. She is inspired by the dedication of the staff. 

“They’re trying to figure out a way to help any way they can. Whoever walks in, they try to help them,” Murillo said. “I feel like that’s me, like that’s a part of me. This is just another step up for me in going further beyond in a community I don’t know, a community I have never met, but a community that I’m a part of. And I love that.” 

The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps is the first statewide service program open to AB 540 Dreamer students, which was very attractive to Capilla. 

“With this program, it’s definitely giving me a bigger chance to [graduate] and make a difference,” she said. “Not just with my family but with other undocumented students, I want to be a role model. Even if you’re undocumented, you can still make it through. You can still find resources to support you and get you through college.” 

The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, a first-of-its-kind partnership funded through a $146 million investment from the Office of the Governor’s California Volunteers, launched at 46 colleges across California this fall. Over 3,200 students statewide are participating in 2022 – 2023, selected from 10,000 applicants. 

Up to 50 SF State students are accepted for the yearlong program (with 10 slots reserved for AB 540 Dreamers). They serve in the areas of K – 12 education, climate action or food insecurity. The program is open to undergraduates in any major and combines academics and hands-on work experience, so students can gain the skills they need for the future and help pay for school while giving back to San Francisco communities. Prior experience is not necessary for most of the opportunities.  

SF State undergraduates can apply to the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps online through the University’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE). Applications will be accepted between Dec. 19, 2022, and March 3, 2023.