Education opens doors for Millennials to succeed and give back

August 2, 2011 by Caroline Vance

College students from all over Northern California brought their passion, energy, and ideas to’s Target 2020 California Leadership Seminar, with the hope of making access to higher education more of a reality for all young people.

Target 2020 brought together leaders from several community colleges as part of a 12-month virtual and in-person leadership development program. The project is designed to equip Millennials with the skills and resources they need to become civic entrepreneurs.

Chabot College, City College of San Francisco, De Anza College, Foothill College, Merritt College and Sierra College were all represented by students who competed and won grants from Mobilize for their campus projects. Projects ranged from establishing mentoring/counseling to assist foster youths with college success to offering complete video and editing support for student organizations doing great work but struggling with visibility.

Many students eagerly shared stories of how education propelled their lives forward and made the difference between failure and success.

Student Cherrie Moore from the East Bay explained that she went through a difficult childhood and then a rough divorce, followed closely by the death of her mother. Despite friends and family telling her to slow down and take a break, Moore said the only thing that she had to hold on to at the time was school. She found strength in campus groups and quickly rose to become a leader among her peers. Now, Moore works to make sure everyone has a network of support to improve their chance of success in school.

Students heard from the State Director of CALPIRG, Mike Del Ponte of Sparkseed, Sarah Audelo of Advocates for Youth, Debbie Cochrane of The Institute for College Access and Success, Benito Delgado-Olson of K to College, Caroline Vance of California Forward and Daniil Karp of Causes.

All throughout the day they were challenged to increase to use their own “story of self” as a means of explaining their family and childhood, life choices and experiences as leaders. Everyone in the room felt the advocacy power unleashed by the students sharing who they were and what they have become.

Caroline Vance is senior partnerships assoicate at CA Fwd.