Congratulations to Berkeley City College student Davon Crawford, the winner of the 2021 CalWORKs award! Davon is a mother of four children and is studying to become a nurse. Her inspirational story and strong application helped her to win the award at a statewide level on February 25th. In March of 2021, Davon was invited by the CalWORKs Associate Board to perform as the keynote speaker on the student panel.
When it comes to persistence, Davon Crawford is a master in the subject. Davon graduated from Cosumnes River College, located in Sacramento, with an Associate of Arts degree in 2010. In 2017, she started working as a doula and realized that she wanted to go back to school to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.
“I always wanted to go back to school for nursing. I received an AA from Cosumnes River College, and in 2017 I started working as a doula and I decided that I wanted to go back to school to fulfill my dream. That happened in 2020, 10 years later I received my degree. I have done all my prerequisites and I am now applying for schools. I am taking some pre-calculus, another science course and a psychology class this semester to keep me busy”, shares Davon.
On top of her academic life, Davon spends her time taking care of her four young children. She mentions that due to COVID-19 , she needed to stay at home and assist her kids with school and remote learning. Now, instead of dedicating herself only to her studies and her work, Davon also needs to prioritize her children and their learning process every day.
As a single mother, Davon found herself with new obstacles that arose from the pandemic. She reveals that her family did not have enough devices for everyone to attend virtual school. Additionally, her academic life was getting overwhelmed. At this point, Davon decided to seek for help from the Peralta Colleges Foundation. She reached out to her counselors from the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), and she found the support she needed to still be able to pursue her dream.
“We did not have devices for everyone in the beginning. My kids got computers from their school. I am part of EOPS in my school. EOPS is a program that supports families that are either CalWORKs or they receive some kind of assistance from their county. My EOPS department in BCC also chipped in and gave funds for a printer, a desk, certain things that kind of helped me along. That was very helpful”, says Davon.
“There was a point when I enrolled in 16 units, and if you ask me how I did that, my answer is I don’t know. I had a lot of support. I had study groups with friends who were in the same class as me, group chats, and that was kind of what helped me keep going”, she adds.
Davon has ambitious goals when it comes to her education and career. She wants to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and a master’s degree in Childbirth. When asked about what message she leaves for those students who are also parents, she says:
"Keep striving, do not give up if you have a dream and you want to fulfill it. If it’s something that is on your heart, push through, give it your all because there are so many people out there to support you along the way. Reach out and talk to your counselor; there are friends in your class to help you. Join a study group. I go to meetings every week and I listen to other people sharing their stories and I am like 'I am not the only one struggling.’ People have resources to share and things like that. Just get started. Take one class, two classes, just to get your feet wet, and just keep going because before you know it you will be done."
The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is a State funded program designed to provide academic support for parents with children under 18. The CalWORKs program embraces parent-students to pursue higher education while providing them with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Each community college in California has a CalWORKs program on campus. Students can get informed about what the program offers as well as application requirements in their own campus. Those who intend to apply for the program can check the eligibility form and access the CalWORKs application on the CalWORKs portal https://www.berkeleycitycollege.edu/calworks/