Falcon Kids seeks funds to make impact on community

Perla Lara

The responsibility to be a representative for the Students of Cerritos College, is no small endeavor. ASCC Senators are tasked with a debate over the future of the Falcon Kids initiative and the requested $19, 510 in funds.

What is Falcon Kids

For Student Trustee Victor Villalobos, “Falcon Kids is an initiative where there’s going to be a coloring book created with Franco the Falcon, there’s going to be plush toys, markers, crayons, stuff that has his picture on it, that comes out to like $20,000.

“I personally don’t think that we as ASCC should be spending $20,000 of student’s money on a community project that’s not going to be impacting students directly.”

For ASCC Senator Adrian Gomez, the Falcon Kids Initiative is “a means to a beginning. I believe our local communities, especially our youth, have fallen victim to a stigmatization of school.

“It is highly discouraged for children to become educated, from their peers.”

He continued, “The idea of being a nerd keeps children from gaining interest in education and progressing. I believe this initiative has the potential to change the mentality of the children, progressing further to change the mentality of our local culture.”

How it started

The Falcon Kids initiative was introduced as a legislation asking ASCC Senate for funds by Commissioner Enrique Rodriguez, and Commissioner Jessica Germata.

Rodriguez has been planning and working on the Falcon Kids initiative since before the semester.

He said, “When I was conferring with the school, they presented it and they wanted to do K through five, I was like ‘no, I’m part of the school site committee I’m seeing the test scores right there with the principal with common core statistics let’s do third grade.’

Third grade is where we need to focus,” he stated.

What it asks for

The legislation requests funds for promotional materials such as Falcon Kids Brochure Production, Franco Plush Toys, Falcon backpacks, Franco pencils, Franco crayons and Franco folders would cost the requested amount of $16,250.00.

The volunteer Live Scan, Falcon Kids Training manuals, Falcon Kids volunteer shirts and volunteer training would cost the requested amount of $3,260.00 for the grand total of $19,510.

Initial rejection

When the legislation was presented to ASCC Senate on Nov. 25 it failed to pass.

The amount of money being requested was a reason why senators voted against the legislation.

ASCC Senator Peter Ibrahim said, “I voted no. because of how much it cost like around $19,000.”

Villalobos said, “This money is coming out of the fees we pay at the beginning of every semester [….] those $20,000 could be used to create another program on campus or to some other initiative.”

However, for Rodriguez the initial failure was not a deterrent an instead enlisted the help of ASCC Senator and Falcon Kids supporter, Ashley Johnson.

She will be re-presenting the legislation at the Wednesday ASCC Senate meeting.

New supporter

Johnson sees the initiative as a way to help the third graders at New River Elementary, and also the students at Cerritos College.

She said, “I see three major problems that this will fix. The first being that students who graduate college and don’t have any intern experience, or any experience, in their field, this will help bridge that.

Additionally, there is a gap between Cerritos College and our community, and thirdly we have an achievement gap that is evident in our country.”

What’s next

In the next presentation Rodriguez and Johnson will be answering the questions and concerns that senate has.

He said, “They’re going to be answered, and if [senate] wants to go further into the answers, I’ll be willing to do that.”

ASCC Senator Helena Robles said that although she voted for the initiative, she still wants to see more information.

“[…]I know it’s really important to get kids to learn how to read, how to talk and feel comfortable. But I feel like I want to see more structure [in the Falcon Kids Initiative.]”

Strong convictions

Other senators like Villalobos and Gomez are firm in their convictions.

Villalobos stating, “Two things that I brought up with that question was one, nothing is set in stone so what if we don’t get the money back? Then ASCC are stuck in two positions.

“Two, we spend money on an initiative that impacted the students for a certain amount of time then it just died.

“The other would be that we as ASCC may feel obligated to fund these $20,000 dollars again because you know we’re impacting the community, […] to not be able to do it the following year you know doesn’t benefit us. I feel like it hurts us.”

Gomez states the following, “In order for this initiative to pass, we as senators need to have a little faith.

“We need to believe in the ideas of our fellow students. We must remember that the greatest advances in our society have only been achieved for trials of error and failure. We can’t put ourselves in a position in which we fear failure because fear has never achieved success.”