Compass Center Wins Outstanding New Project/Program Award

Contra Costa College is thrilled to announce that the Contra Costa Council on Homelessness has awarded its Compass Center the “Outstanding New Project/Program” accolade. This recognition is a testament to the college’s commitment to addressing the fundamental needs of its students.

The Compass Center, established through the collaborative efforts of dedicated individuals, including Joel Nickelson-Shanks (Outreach Program Manager), Charles Ramirez (Interim Director of EOPS and CalWorks), and Vanessa Mercado (Research Analyst), has been a beacon of support for Contra Costa College students since its inception. The center was first created in Spring 2017, with the launch of an on-campus food pantry. This milestone laid the foundation for the compassionate support of students in need.

The subsequent year, Spring of 2018, marked the initiation of the Free Breakfast program. In the Fall of 2022, the Compass Center introduced a Free Lunch option twice a week, to coincide with most students’ post-pandemic return to campus.

The Compass Center is designed to provide students with comprehensive support and vital referrals, ensuring they can focus on their academic goals while having their basic needs met.

Hope Dixon, appointed as the Basic Needs Coordinator in March 2023, plays a pivotal role in the Compass Center’s mission. With a background in communications and financial aid, Hope’s personal journey as a first-generation college student resonates deeply with many of the students she assists.

“I was always struggling in school, and just barely getting by. If not for an emergency grant and understanding administrators, I’m not sure I would be here or have gotten my degree. Now I have the opportunity to pay it forward, and I’m honored to do so,” said Dixon.

The center rebranded as Compass this summer with the rollout of its new webpage and self-referral tool, making it even more accessible for students in need. The name “Compass” embodies the program’s core mission, which stands for Comprehensive Student Support.

Looking ahead, the Compass Center has ambitious plans, including the creation of a dedicated on-campus resource space, tailored to student feedback, and developing a comprehensive strategy to provide greater housing opportunities for Contra Costa College students.

Contra Costa College is immensely proud of the Compass Center’s achievements and its recognition during Homelessness Awareness Month. The college remains committed to supporting its students on their academic journeys, ensuring that no student has to face the challenges of homelessness or basic needs insecurity alone.

For more information about Contra Costa College and the Compass Center, please visit the Compass Center website.

To reach out: Basic Needs Office SAB 112 Email: Phone: (510) 215-4796 

To help The Compass Center: 

About Contra Costa College: Contra Costa College, part of the Contra Costa Community College District, is dedicated to providing a diverse and supportive educational environment that empowers students to achieve their academic and career goals.