As the largest community college in California, City College of San Francisco serves almost 100,000 students annually and is our own local resource and treasure. As a native San Franciscan and CCSF faculty member, I have witnessed the transformations that have taken place daily at the college.
Some of the transformations have been miraculous: a former foster youth who becomes the valedictorian speaker at graduation; a former prison inmate who transfers from CCSF to UC Davis seeking a law degree; a wounded veteran who leaves CCSF with a 4.0 GPA and a dream of a medical degree; a disconnected high school student who transfers from CCSF to San Francisco State University with the goal of becoming a teacher in his own neighborhood elementary school. The stories and the miracles go on and on.
CCSF is a place where dreams are realized. It is likely that your neighbor, your daughter, your uncle or your co-worker has enrolled in our classes. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, corporate executives, chefs, gardeners and bank tellers find their careers at CCSF.
Our doors have remained open to serve San Franciscans. We teach new immigrants English. We breathe deeply and smile wisely when the new crop of high school graduates from the San Francisco Unified School District and other local high schools arrives each year and reminds us of what we don’t know. We help career changers develop new skills and we open our doors daily to students that simply want to learn.
We also are in the midst of a fiscal and organizational crisis. We have tried to continue to serve our community in the face of crippling budget cuts and reductions. We have tried to continue to serve San Francisco with fewer resources.
We have made some mistakes and some flawed administrative decisions. But we have a long history in San Francisco and we know we have many supporters. We know that we have transformed lives and empowered individuals. We know that we have leveled the field and have been part of social justice in action.
We have been there for you and now we need your help. Vote for Proposition A on the local ballot and Proposition 30 on the statewide ballot next week.
Come and take a class with us in the spring semester. Send your high school graduate to us. If we helped you or played a role in your educational journey, tell your story. If you work in San Francisco, ask your employer to support training and education for your co-workers. Help us to regain our strength. Help us to continue to serve San Francisco for another 75 years.
We are not glamorous, we are not selective and we are not exclusive. We belong to you and we are a college for the community; your community. We are San Francisco’s community college and we know we can depend on you.
Kathleen White is department chairwoman of Child Development and Family Studies at City College of San Francisco.