EOPS provides life changing opportunities for student, Steven Navarro
August 1, 2018
Growing up on the east side of Los Angeles, Steven Navarro had a rougher upbringing than most. He has had to fend for himself from a young age, without the support of a family. He did not think that schooling would be an option for him, until one of his friends suggested he visit the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services at Long Beach City College.
“I had been on my own since I was 16 years old. However, not until I was 24 was I able to be independent, so I was going to go out and apply for food stamps… I didn’t have nothing, until I came into this office,” Steven Navarro, sophomore, said.
From the beginning, he felt welcomed by the program. He received not only funding for his books, but a job offer from them. From almost nothing, he was able to overcome his financial situation and now wishes to help other students in similar situations like him through EOPS.
EOPS does more for the students than just providing financial benefits. It aims to help students who are not only pressed for money, but also can not find the time or are unable to go back to school for various reasons.
DeWayne Sheaffer, Long Beach City College counselor, helps all students who come to his office; from advice on financial situations to career paths they wish to pursue.
“It’s a limited program, especially with 27,000 students on our campus,” Sheaffer said.
And it does give students financial benefits, but it’s not financial aid in no way, shape or forms.
The program encourages students to be serious about their futures and set goals for themselves. The program aims to help those students who cannot support themselves and school at the same time. They work to ensure the student sticks with their plans and offer support when necessary, whether it be financial or career guidance.
“The main services we provide are book grants, but we also provide one on one counseling. We require each student to meet with a counselor three or more times a semester to ensure they are progressing along their plan,” Jason Avillan, interim manager of EOPS, said.
The process of being accepted into EOPS entails filling out the application and meeting the necessary requirements. After this occurs, students are selected on a first come, first served basis due to the maximum amount of money they are able to provide.
Navarro is a student financial aid worker with EOPS. The employees try to teach students valuable life skills to help them become independent. “It’s taught me a lot, just being a person in general; how to handle yourself, how to be a proper student, how to be organized, time management, how to prepare and even using a planner,” Navarro said.
Navarro is now entering his final semester in the college and hopes to transfer into University of California, San Diego to pursue a degree in nursing.
EOPS has given him a chance at leading a successful life, when before, he thought there was not any possibility of it. He is one of about 2000 students each year that receives a chance. The main message EOPS has taught him is, “You are who you associate yourself with, so if you associate yourself with the right people and have the right mindset, that will carry you a long way,” Navarro said.