Phoenix College (PC) student George Childs was starting the second week of classes for the semester on January 25. Little did he know that accessing his classes remotely was about to get more challenging.
The drought-stricken city of Phoenix received a much-needed deluge of rain that day. The storm that brought it also brought graupel, strong winds and volatile conditions. The powerful storm caused significant damage in the central core of the city, flooding streets and toppling trees. Unfortunately, one of those trees crashed into the apartment where Childs lives. Thankfully, the PC student was not in his bed at the time the massive palm smashed through the wall to his bedroom. Unfortunately, the laptop he used for his coursework was damaged in the downpour and chaos.
A local news station highlighted the event and Childs appeared in the story expressing his hope that his instructors would understand his plight. PC faculty and staff were quick to respond. The Male Empowerment Network (MEN), a program designed to improve the retention and degree completion rates of minority male students at the college, of which Childs is a member, rallied to work with the Counseling Department and immediately connected him with the loaner device program. This program provided him a laptop so that he could keep pace with his studies and homework. With the resounding support of the college community to ensure that his basic needs were addressed Childs has been able to move forward in the semester and continue toward his goal of becoming a Social Worker.
This focus on student success is not new at Phoenix College. Inclusivity and equitable access have been cornerstones of PC since it opened its doors to learners in September 1920. When those doors opened, they opened to everyone regardless of race at a time when the local high school system was still segregated. Through programs such as MEN and support systems that focus on the basic needs of all students, PC has been changing the lives of members of the community for over 100 years. The support of the MEN program and the PC faculty and staff have allowed Childs to maintain his progress and incredible GPA.
When asked about his experience at PC through this event Childs shared a favorite quote from James Baldwin, who said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced." Childs is facing his future with a positive outlook and with the support of Phoenix College. He is grateful for the assistance he received, “Thanks to the staff of Phoenix College for helping me to prosper in the mist of unforeseen circumstances.” Phoenix College strives to help all students Go Far, Close to Home, and in the case of George Childs the MEN program helped him stay on track to his goal of completing his AA degree in Fall of 2022 and then to matriculate to Arizona State University to finish his Bachelor’s Degree.