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Racism, Social Justice, Tolerance Addressed as Diversity Dialogues Returns to Cuyamaca College

Discussions on topics ranging from social justice to the unique cultural challenges facing Muslim immigrants in the region highlight Cuyamaca College’s fall menu of Diversity Dialogues, which launches Sept. 14.

Diversity Dialogues were developed by Lauren Vaknin, associate dean of student affairs at Cuyamaca College, in spring 2011. From initially offering three workshops that drew a total of about 50 students, these days, up to 300 people – mostly students — attend the workshops each year.

“Diversity Dialogues has a tradition of fostering greater understanding by sparking open and honest discussions, and we look forward to another year of healthy and respectful conversations that underscore our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Vaknin said.

All sessions are free and open to the public and take place in Room I-207 of the Student Center.

The series begins Sept. 14 with Developing a Positive Multicultural Orientation towards Diversity: Self-Reflection about our Diverse Identities and Cultural Orientation from 2 to 3 p.m. Presented by licensed marriage and family therapist Mayumi Y. Douglass, who is a lecturer at San Diego State University and a clinical supervisor at the Cuyamaca College Health and Wellness Center, this workshop is aimed at recognizing biases, increasing awareness about cultural prejudices and encouraging engagement with others who are culturally diverse.

That will be followed Sept. 18 with Diversity & Social Justice from 12 to 1 p.m. Presented by Grace Bagunu, who is the Student Affairs/SOLES Collaborative coordinator at the University of San Diego, this highly interactive session will focus on social justice-related concepts and effective communication skills when working in diverse groups.

A session titled Teaching Tolerance Supporting Students from Immigrant Families and Undocumented Students is on tap Sept. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. Presented by Cuyamaca College counselor and interim First Year Experience coordinator Mary Garcia, this workshop will address how increased immigration enforcement is impacting many immigrant students and their families – both documented and undocumented – and how the Cuyamaca College community can best support them.

The Border Corrido: Music of Resistance is set for Sept. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Led by John Escobedo, Cuyamaca College’s Title V activity director in the Department of Institutional Effectiveness, Success and Equity, will lead a discussion about the role of music in resistance movements and the development of the border corrido – popular, narrative songs that often speak to oppression and other socially relevant topics.

Learning about Filipino Culture & Traditions takes place Oct. 12 from 1 to 2 p.m. Grace Bagunu of USD will provide an overview of Filipino history, culture and tradition while touching on such topics as why the Philippines is the only Asian country to practice Christianity, why lumpia is such a well-known dish even though it did not originate in the Philippines, and why the Philippine flag has three stars.

Aversive Racism and Microaggressions is set for Oct. 19 from 2 to 3 p.m. with Douglass of the Health and Wellness Center leading a discussion that explores assumptions based on an individual’s culture and the various ways people can casually degrade a socially marginalized group in brief, everyday exchanges.

Understanding Your Cultural Identity takes place Oct. 25 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Presented by Tanis Starck, assistant dean for special projects and director of the Cultural Proficiency Institute for Educators at San Diego State University, this workshop will investigate how we are likely to see people of differing cultures and how we could transform our cultural differences into healthy, authentic relations with others.

Breaking Barriers to Build Bridges: A Mental Health Initiative, is set for Oct. 30 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Presented by Cuyamaca College and Southwestern College counselor Ahmed (Rasheed) Aden, this workshop will delve into the stress felt by immigrant communities – particularly Muslim immigrants in the United States – and how that can affect a person’s mental health.

Diversity Dialogues ends its fall semester run with Developing Cultural Humility on Nov. 16 from 2 to 3 p.m. Douglass returns for an important discussion on becoming more sensitive to the importance of diversity and respect for cultural differences.

Diversity Dialogues is but one of Cuyamaca College’s ongoing efforts at celebrating all cultures. The campus hosts an annual powwow to promote Native American heritage, Latino Heritage Month and Black History Month celebrations and a Veterans Week Barbecue honoring those who have served in the armed forces.

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Free Backyard Composting Workshop – September 30, 2017

In partnership with the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, The Water Conservation Garden presents a FREE composting workshop! Learn all about traditional composting and vermicomposting, and how to harvest and use your compost!

Saturday, September 30 | 10 am – 12 pm
The Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West
El Cajon CA 92019

Register online at: http://solanacenter.org/wcg-workshop or call (760) 436-7986 ext. 700.

Free Workshop: Growing Fresh Herbs for Cooking – September 16, 2017

Join the Rancho San Diego Library on Saturday, September 16, 2017 for a special, FREE workshop – “Growing Fresh Herbs for Cooking!” The workshop will take place from 10 am – 11:30 am at the Rancho San Diego Library (11555 Via Rancho San Diego).

Learn how to grow herbs in containers and in your backyard garden. You’ll also learn how to recognize, prevent, and control common pests and plant diseases. This free workshop is resented by Carolyn Kinnon, Environmental Horticulturalist.

Cuyamaca College Pilots Online Ford ASSET Program

Thanks to a $55,000 investment in AV equipment for web conferencing, live-streamed and recorded lectures, and curriculum changes to protect the Ford ASSET program’s integrity, Cuyamaca College will offer distance learning for the first time for students in the Automotive Technology program, said instructor and coordinator Brad McCombs.

When the fall semester starts Aug. 21, students in the traditional Ford ASSET program will continue a two-year regimen of alternating classroom instruction with on-the-job dealership training. However, online students will spend their two years full-time at Ford dealerships in their area with daily training classes on the web. The online training covers areas including electronics, climate-control systems, brakes, steering and suspension, and hybrid vehicle components and operation.

“This is really exciting for Cuyamaca College – to be Ford ASSET’s first pilot program in distance learning in the country,” McCombs said.

Ford honored Cuyamaca’s ASSET program earlier in the year, recognizing it as one of the best training programs in the world, McCombs said. The college’s Ford ASSET program is the only one in San Diego County and one of only three in California.

During the two years of training, all Ford ASSET students must complete a record book showing completion of the training modules and proving their ability to perform specific tasks. The books, which also serve as resume portfolios, are audited and signed by dealership personnel and the college instructor.

All ASSET students are also required to complete general education courses, making the program one of the college’s most demanding, second only to engineering in the total number of units needed for an associate degree. The GE classes are also offered online and distance learners will get their degrees from Cuyamaca College. Campus visits are needed for mid-term and final exams.

Its two-year timetable is intensive, with classes continuing through the summer. And the payoff is immeasurable: an associate of science degree transferable to California state universities, Ford Motor Co. certifications, and a near-guaranteed job upon graduation.

“‘Learning for the Future’ is your college’s motto and it is perfectly100 percent aligned with the Ford ASSET program,” said keynote speaker Roger Henry, the parts and service director for Ford’s Southern California region. “New technologies are emerging constantly with the hybrids and the development of autonomous vehicles. The world is changing rapidly. Your education is not complete. Your education and learning [are] just starting.”

Classes such as the Ford ASSET and GM ASEP programs are critical to the industry as the primary source of trained technicians, industry representatives say. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), a growing number of employers require workers to have postsecondary training because of new technology in vehicles. The DOL describes the job outlook as “very good” for automotive technicians.

Cuyamaca College’s automotive technology program, which enrolls an average of 300 students each semester, is highly regarded because of its industry-recognized certifications. Both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors provide vehicles, tools and separate partnerships with Cuyamaca for Ford’s Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) and GM’s Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP). GM’s ASEP class of 2014 graduated in 2016.

Unlike most training programs, ASSET and ASEP students are employed in the industry at sponsoring Ford, Lincoln and GM auto dealerships while they’re learning the skills. According to Ford Motor Co., 99 percent of ASSET graduates are hired by their sponsoring dealerships.

For an application and more information about enrolling in the Ford ASSET program, go to www.cuyamaca.edu/people/brad-mccombs/

Registration is underway for classes at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges for the fall semester beginning Aug. 21. Information on admissions and registering for classes is available at www.gcccd.edu/now

La Leche League Breastfeeding Support Group – Every 2nd Saturday

Join the La Leche League every 2nd Saturday of the month at the Rancho San Diego Library (10 AM – 11 AM) for our breastfeeding support group! Partners are welcome at these meetings. Read below to learn more about the La Leche League!

About the La Leche League: La Leche League is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to providing information, encouragement, and support to anyone who wishes to breastfeed their children. Our meetings are led by volunteers who have happily and successfully breastfed their own children and have subsequently been accredited by La Leche League International (LLLI). Our Mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

About the meetings: At Group meetings La Leche League Leaders and other mothers share experiences, give suggestions and offer support and encouragement. LLL meetings are ideal for learning from and making friends with other mothers. These meetings provide time for mother-to-mother sharing in a friendly and accepting atmosphere. The informal meetings are attended by expectant, new and experienced mothers and their babies. Most Groups rotate through a series of breastfeeding topics, however every meeting is different and the questions of the attendees are always given top priority.

What are the meeting topics?

  • The advantages of breastfeeding. Mothers are amazed to hear about the many remarkable qualities of human milk, their bodies fantastic ability to produce milk as well as the positive impact breastfeeding has on families, the environment and society.
  • Adjusting to life with a new baby. This meeting focuses on the first six weeks and offers tips to make the transition into being a family as smooth as possible.
  • Overcoming difficulties. Leaders and mothers have excellent ideas to help mothers overcome roadblocks that may impede breastfeeding progress.
  • Nutrition and weaning. Pregnant women enjoy this topic so they can optimize their unborn baby’s health. Mothers learn how to start solids for their babies. Nutritious options for family meals are shared.

The Rancho San Diego Library is located at 11555 Via Rancho San Diego. For more information about these meetings, visit www.lllofsandiego.com or contact Elise & Rhonda at lllofeastcounty@gmail.com