West Valley College Students Gain Real-World Experience Helping to Solve Community Issues
By WVC Communications Department - August 28, 2020
Saratoga, CA - West Valley College and World Innovations Network (WIN) are partnering to launch the United Community Alliance, a collaboration of West Valley students and faculty, local government officials, accomplished entrepreneurs, high-tech leaders, and the venture capital community. This alliance will create a hands-on approach to address the pressing needs of the community, providing students a chance to help solve real-world problems through sponsored paid internship programs. This student-inspired partnership has identified three specific areas to focus their first efforts: COVID-19, student homelessness, and clean water.
WIN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is charged with creating immersive learning spaces for young adults that will enable the development of innovative thinking and leadership competencies through engagement and mentorship.
The United Community Alliance is designed with the community and community problems in mind. Through project-based workshops, students are paired with industry leaders to solve problems using design and innovating thinking, and entrepreneurial approaches while developing their growth mindset and emotional intelligence, all key aspects of leadership competencies. These workshops focus on social, economic, and environmental real-world challenges. WIN has formed a large interdisciplinary community of entrepreneurs and senior executives from top Silicon Valley companies and startups who serve as WIN sponsors, role models, and mentors.
“The problems in our community are felt by every one of our students. With this partnership, students are being empowered, exposed, and engaged to tackle difficult community problems through the oversight of key industry mentors and community leaders. They can now be part of a larger solution that is the future of our communities,” said Brad Davis, Chancellor of the West Valley-Mission Community College District.
“We are very excited to launch our first WIN United Community Alliance Initiative with West Valley College. Through this initiative, we intend to create a repeatable model that can be extended to other communities and colleges for scale. The cornerstone of our program is accomplished mentors providing support and guidance to our youth for leadership and innovative techniques in a hands-on engagement approach. Imagine students as our future leaders and innovators solving meaningful challenges our world faces today," said Mojgan Momeni, Executive Director & Co-Founder at WIN.
One of the WIN United Community Alliance initiatives is to address the rising rates of homelessness in the Bay Area, a topic that deeply resonates with the homeless students of community colleges. About 20% of students at community colleges are homeless. Over 4,000 homeless students are facing challenging times in Santa Clara County alone.
“We have joined forces with WVC students to look at the root cause and to pursue a long-term approach to solving our student homeless crisis in the community colleges. My team and I have been very impressed by the level of intelligence, passion, teamwork, and dedication of the students at West Valley, As such we are assessing the potential of a seed round of financing and investment opportunities for sustainable solutions,” said Farzad Naimi, serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Naimi Group, sponsor of the homeless initiative.
Another area of focus for the United Community alliance is Clean Water. Close to 2 billion people in the world are struggling with access to clean water.
“Nearly 1 million people die from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases each year. We have been pleased and impressed working with WVC students, seeking solutions for clean water with profitable business models that can benefit our planet and natural resources,” said Stuart Rudick, founder and managing partner of Mindful Investors, sponsor for the clean water project.
The last area of focus is an initiative that has come into the spotlight as a result of COVID-19: the state of health and nutrition in our communities. The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept the world and struck those with underlying cardiometabolic syndrome: inflammation, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders, the hardest.
”Mynomx is sharing AI-based technology and science proven at Stanford Medicine & University and Broad Institute (MIT & Harvard) with over 2.1 million patients to prevent and fight COVID19 through personalized nutritional guidelines tailored for the population at risk. As a community, we need to strengthen our health response through preventative measures by using proper nutritional interventions that are tailored at the personal level. At Mynomx, we focus on preventing the onset and progression of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, using food as medicine," said Maria Garcia-Smith, Mynomx founder and Chief Innovation Officer, sponsor for Health and Nutrition.
Education and work sectors are undergoing rapid and radical change. Future economic advancement depends on young adults developing into competent, agile, and adaptive, next-generation leaders.
“The best training for the leaders of tomorrow is to solve real-world problems now. West Valley College students bring brilliant ideas and an unmatched work ethic to their partnerships with experienced industry mentors to address the most pressing problems challenging our global community. The result for students in the development of a professional network, meaningful work experience, and profound growth in leadership skills. For the community, the benefit is the development of a generation of highly skilled leaders who are committed to supporting this community now and into the future,” said Stephanie Kashima, President of West Valley College.
“We see great promise for our interns in partnership with WIN and industry leaders to learn the skills necessary to successfully apply responsible entrepreneurship to hard problems that plague our community,” said Renee Paquier, Dean of the Che School of Professional Studies at West Valley College.
“When the private sector, public sector, and policymakers join forces as a united front, a United Community Alliance, then, and only then, can we begin to design proper community-based solutions,” said Howard Miller, Mayor of Saratoga.
“On behalf of all participating students, it has been an honor to spearhead the student engagement as Project Manager in this phenomenal program. WIN has ignited my passion for helping others, and our students are hungry to get engaged at the convergence of the private and public sectors. Using the WIN pedagogy as our lance and powered by 21st Century innovation, we will pave the path toward a better tomorrow within our community,” said former West Valley student Cade Story-Yetto, United Community Alliance Lead Liaison & Project Manager.
West Valley College is a public community college, located in Saratoga, CA and is part of the West Valley-Mission Community College District and the California Community College System. The college provides degree, transfer, certificate, and career training opportunities to meet the workforce demands of our community. WVC is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges/Western Association of Schools and Colleges. www.westvalley.edu
World Innovations Network, 501c(3), creates an immersive learning space for community college students to explore entrepreneurship, innovation, and impact with mentors within a United Community Alliance through hands-on engagement.
Mynomx focuses on preventing the onset and progression of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders using food as medicine through personalized nutrition designed to each person’s unique metabolism, health, and genetics. Ensuring the health of our communities and strengthening the immune system of individuals.
Mindfull Investor is at the right place at the right time to fund businesses focused on financial success and positively impacting our health and solving our world’s pressing environmental problems.
NAIMI Group is an investment firm that helps sustainable institutions with positive global effects. It is built on three unified pillars - Create, Grow, and Share - a formula that takes the best of what has been imagined and created and applies it toward enriching society.