West Hills College Lemoore earned two awards at the 2022 Kings Prevention Awards hosted by Kings Partnership on December 1, 2022.
Amber Avitia, Coordinator of Student Support Services and Engagement at W.H.C.L., was honored with the Excellence in Prevention Programing Award for her work with the W.H.C.L. Golden Eagle Pantry.
Avitia oversees 10,000 + pounds of monthly food distribution through an on-campus no-cost grocery store called the "Golden Eagle Pantry" and via monthly community food drive-throughs. Partnerships with the Central California Food Bank, Kings Community Action Organization, and CalViva Health have helped make free food distribution possible for the college; efforts have helped W.H.C.L. students and the community save hundreds of dollars on grocery costs.
"The Golden Eagle Pantry is a result of an entire community coming together," said Avitia. "Through collaboration with amazing partners, the generosity of donors, and our staff and volunteer's dedication, our college's commitment to end food insecurity in our community is possible."
The H.O.P.E Initiative at W.H.C.L. also received recognition with the Excellence in Community Collaboration Award. In 2022, the H.O.P.E. Initiative launched a program entitled "A Year of Hope." This program created a calendar of annual events for W.H.C.L. students, employees, and the college's surrounding community, focusing on cultural awareness events. The H.O.P.E. Initiative also plans weekly events, educational speakers, student events, educational activities, and community events both at the college and within the community.
"The program has three focuses: outreach for middle and high school students who want to go to college, support for current students, and community outreach for adults wanting to return to school," said Zara Sims, Director of the W.H.C.L. H.O.P.E Imitative. "All three of these initiatives are meant to serve under-represented groups, such as our Black community, our native community, our Hispanic community, especially Hispanic males, L.G.B.T.Q. and foster and homeless youth."