Funds for migrant workers
WSU’s CAMP program receives $2 million grant
|Josue Q. Estrada|
WSU’s CAMP, which stands for College Assistance Migrant Program, was established in 2006. The program provides college assistance for students and immediate family members who come from migrant or seasonal farm worker backgrounds. Qualifying work includes employment in crop, dairy, poultry, livestock production, the harvesting of trees or fish farming.
To help eligible CAMP students transition to WSU during their first year, CAMP services include tutoring, counseling, mentoring, career orientation, and some financial support.
"When I first heard the news that WSU had received the CAMP grant, I was thrilled beyond words,” said program director Josue Q. Estrada.
As the nation’s top producer of many different crops including apples, cherries, and hops, Washington State remains an important destination for migrant and seasonal farm workers.
"Yet farm-working families live in poverty which drastically impacts their access to education, proper health care, housing and overall quality of life,” said Estrada.
With the renewed funding, CAMP will be able to serve an additional 225 students during the next five years.
Statistics show CAMP is having a significant impact on student success. The program’s own research indicates that on average 91-percent of students in CAMP return to WSU the following school year—well above the university’s overall average. Since 2006 42 CAMP students have graduated from WSU while another 230 students are on-track to complete their degrees.
During last week’s High School Equivalency/CAMP Directors meeting in Washington, D.C., WSU’s CAMP program was recognized as a "Top 10” program nationally for its effectiveness in helping students complete their first year of college. It was also recognized for being one of the nation’s most cost-effective programs.
Mata was born with a cleft palate and traveled hours away from home to attend doctors’ appointments and have surgeries. Coming from an impoverished community, he worked alongside his single mother picking asparagus, cherries and other crops to help pay his medical expenses.
"He’s an ideal person to represent migrant students throughout the country not only because of his academic prowess, but because he is humble, respectful, and loves to help others,” Estrada said.
Former WSU CAMP students, Ivon Garcia and Evangelina Alvarez, were among only three students nationally to be invited to serve in paid internships this summer with the National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Association.
Garcia, a Human Development major from Bridgeport, Wash. was only four years old when her parents brought her to the United States. She also worked alongside her parents working in the apple and cherry orchards.
"Through the lessons she learned in the fields and the pain she witnessed her parents experiencing after work, Ivon knew she had to graduate from high school and continue her education,” he said.
Alvarez is a business major who is the first in her family to attend college.
"She has the will and passion to motivate people around her to be involved,” said Estrada. "She proves that potential can be achieved no matter your background and she is leading the way for others.”