Community college receives over $1 million to fund programs that give students second chances

Congresswoman Maxine Waters presented Los Angeles Southwest College with $1.5 million to fund two new programs on campus.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Wednesday, Los Angeles Southwest College celebrated receiving $1.5 million presented by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The funds are to go towards two new programs on campus: a Family Resource Center and a Re-Entry Initiative for Success in Education Center, or RISE.

"This is a celebration," said Congresswoman Maxine Waters. "That extra money was given to two special programs that will be initiated here."

"Congresswoman Waters has been such an amazing support for us, for me, as president for our community," said Seher Awan, the president of Los Angeles Southwest College. "Being able to bring in resources for our community who need this help is what we're here to do."

The goal of the RISE center is to support students who have previously been incarcerated and provide gang intervention by offering students with academic support, mentorship, case management and more.

Students at the event spoke about the support they've received from the college so far.

"This is really a change," said Angel Bermudez, a student at LASC. "She's really making a change and really investing because I thought we were alone here. I didn't know we had somebody having a voice for us, I thought it was just us."

LASC's RISE and Family centers are expected to give students a second chance and a little more support. The college currently serves over 2,000 students and of them, approximately 25% are parents.

"To have support resources for families, for parents, for guardians, it's a transformational retention effort," said Awan. "It helps to support them with their completion and making sure that they're able to accomplish their goals."

"I'm pleased and happy to serve this community and will continue to do it, until I drop!" said Congresswoman Waters.

Officials said the project plans for both centers are complete and they are expected to be up and running this fall.

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