Friday, October 19, 2012

Pasadena Star-News inspires help for PCC students

It’s about how a story from the Pasadena Star News inspired a crusade to help the neediest of PCC students.

It was sometime around 2000,  Sierra Madre resident Jo Anne Trinkle read about a homeless PCC student who rode in circles on a bus because it was the only place she could find light to study.  The student had children in foster care and was struggling to get an education so that she could turn her life around.

Trinkle had a taste of that in her own life.   Her husband David had worked full time while earning higher degrees at Pepperdine and USC, sacrificing every spare moment to get through.  Though they had a comfortable home, the demands were tremendous.  When David died in a tragic accident, Jo Anne decided she wanted to help overburdened students in a meaningful way.

For the last eleven years, she and her church Hill Avenue Grace Lutheran which is a neighbor to Pasadena Community College have staged a fundraiser in memory of David Trinkle to benefit students who need help the most.

They are in PASS, Program for Academic Support Services.  Most are low income, many work and help support families.  While financial aid can help with fees and books, the students often scrimp on a basic necessity, food. 

Student Melanie Champagne is a single mother.  She remembers being with her counselor in the middle of finals. 

“My stomach was growling. I was so hungry and really in a rush.  My counselor offered me a food voucher.  It was a lifesaver at that moment.”

The Food Voucher is a privately-funded component of the PASS program.  Students who participate in PASS activities, seek counseling, tutoring and mentoring can get  vouchers for a meal in the cafeteria.

According to Nick Mata, Director of Pass, that meal may be the only one they eat all day.,

I think it is a small sign that someone cares….from the staff member who hands them the food voucher all the way to the community member who makes a donation or attends a fundraising event,” says Mata.

Trinkle adds, “There is much more to succeeding in college than tuition and books. Home life   doesn’t stop, it keeps going.  If they are thinking about eating, it is difficult to study.

This is just a way to give them a little bit of relief, take that stress off.

Trinkle’s next fundraiser is set for October 27th – picnic at the Santa Anita Race Track.  Anyone wishing to participate or who would like to donate can write a check to Hill Ave. Grace Lutheran Church noting that it is for the David Trinkle Memorial Fund.

For more info:

Hill Avenue Grace Lutheran Church 73 North Hill Ave. Pasadena CA - 626 792-4169

Nick Mata, Pasadena City College – 

Jo Anne Trinkle –

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