Big Bend Community College

Moses Lake, WA

The mission of Big Bend Community College is to serve the educational needs of a diverse population throughout its service district. As a comprehensive two-year community college, the institution works with its partners to provide a variety of educational opportunities, including:

• courses and training for university and college transfer
• occupational and technical programs
• basic skills and developmental education
• community and continuing education
• pre-employment and customized training for local business and industry
• support services for students to help promote student access, success and retention

Supported Projects

CTC Program Building

Victoria Bravo

Victoria concentrated efforts this year on stabilizing community computer class offerings to reach adult community members in Mattawa, Royal City, and Othello. The first half of her term was spent generating community computer classes, developing more classes in each community, and training volunteers through Central Washington University (CWU) GEARUP. The second half of the term was focused on expanding that interest to self-study and home use, and to continue the access to learning. During the course of the year, over 130 users were involved in introductory computer classes and intermediate level classes. Students logged roughly 1400 user hours. Among other things, these classes built community capacity, strengthened a cadre of volunteers, and led BBCC to develop partnerships and open new computer classes in Mattawa, Royal City and Othello that were geared to second language learners.

Victoria refined and implemented a second language (Spanish) curriculum that was used in the computer classes. She based the curriculum on research done with a variety of programs working with second language students. CWU GEARUP linked with Victoria to provide work study students to teach computer classes in the three communities. CWU recruited bilingual campus students who then taught the computer classes under the guidance of the VISTA program. One of the CWU GEARUP program objectives is to increase knowledge and awareness of post secondary education for the families with children in these three communities. Increasing the family’s access to technology is a link to their literacy growth and improves success in school. Victoria also developed a strong relationship with the RECA Foundation in Kennewick and continued to link community members to the foundation so they could purchase refurbished computers at a low cost for their home use. We have learned that real progress for most students is dependant on computers in the home. Victoria was able to get computers into many of the student’s homes in Royal City and Mattawa and to help them keep these computers working. The computers are geared more towards families and give kids a basis for learning. They have security in place to prevent major problems from occurring to the operating system. The major drawback in these computers is that they do not allow changes to the system and prevent use of the internet. However, as a beginning computer for families, they are perfect because they aren’t susceptible to viruses as they become more comfortable with the computers, they can later invest in one that is Internet ready. In the meantime, Internet access and ESL software remains available in the community labs.

Victoria has been able to build upon the foundation that was established by last year’s VISTA member to continue the development of dynamic, active technology centers. She is an enormous asset to both the organization and the communities in which she has demonstrated her talent and good will.

Transmission Project