Staff offers assistance in ‘navigating’ through life

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Staff offers assistance in ‘navigating’ through life

Savannah MacAllister, North Campus Staff

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Those struggling with academic and social needs on the campus can now get in contact with the CCAC Navigators for assistance. “The faculty found a need to help students with first-hand needs. We want to help as many students as we can,” says Jill Delaney, one of the three participating faculty members of the program.

“The Navigators program was created through the Achieving the Dream Team. They encourage colleges to look at data on how students achieve their education and use that data to show the needs of our students and make an impact,” says Dr. Mary Lou Kennedy, Interim Associate Provost of Students Affairs. The team, along with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, discovered that 20 percent of students have experienced not being able to eat due to financial instability, 27 percent have issues with transportation, 34 percent have issues with work, 36 percent cannot afford textbooks and supplies, and 42 percent of students don’t know where to find help.

This project gives students as many resources as possible to assist them with material needs such as food, housing, transportation, stress management, and school supplies. If there are greater needs that they cannot help with, they can refer out and link students to outside resources for specific issues.

The three faculty members at the head of the program are Jill Delaney, Kimberly Davis, and Pricilla Robertson. Each member can be accessed by appointment, phone call, email, or walk-in. “I am a Social Worker and Life Coach. I think it feels good to help other people. I want to help students succeed,” says Delaney. She has also served as a Foster Care Case Worker for Metamorphosis Foster Homes. Davis’ experience includes serving as a Discharge Coordinator at the Allegheny County Jail, and as a Crisis Clinician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Resolve Crisis Unit. Robertson has experience working for various spots at the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs Office here at CCAC.

“All three navigators build a stronger team. Each has their own tools and resources,” says Kennedy. “If one cannot be on campus or is not available, another member can be contacted; each have access to all information given to them.” The program exists to make sure that students are connected to exterior resources, and that they follow through with the connection. “In addition to our resources, we also have emergency funds available,” says Kennedy. “For example, someone whose car broke down, and the need a Connect Card, or even a bus pass, we can assist them. These funds can also help with the cost of books.” Delaney’s motto is “Everything is figure-outable.” One of Kennedy’s main priorities is to remove the obstacles that are in the way of student success. “It’s who I am. Helping individuals achieve something without barriers is the most important to me.”

The Navigator program is based out of the North campus but is open to all CCAC students to make appointments. Delaney is available on Mondays and Thursdays in Room 2003. Davis is available on Mondays. Robertson is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “We’re here. Come see us!” adds Delaney.