Winter 2024 Newsletter
Letter from our Director
Rachelle José de Mattos-Saldate
Amador College Connect has remained productive despite the busy holiday season and cold weather during the last few months. Since November, we have had over 250 students visit our center for appointments. Our students continue to amaze us as they balance their college courses, work and home lives, and overall health and wellness. The need for support and online learning is greater than ever, and we remain dedicated to helping those in our community achieve their desire for higher education. For those needing additional support, we have volunteer tutors and peer mentors available to assist our students along the way.

The highlight of the season was a visit by our very own local state representative, Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil. The senator, along with members of her staff, visited and toured Amador College Connect on the 16th of February. We appreciate them taking the time to learn more about the resources and services that Amador College Connect provides and look forward to future collaborations.

Our dual enrollment program in partnership with Amador County Unified School District continues to flourish. This effort provides high school students the opportunity to take higher education courses while simultaneously obtaining high school graduation credits.

Additionally, Amador College Connect continues its partnership with the Amador County Behavioral Health Department to offer Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) scholarship funds to qualifying Amador County residents pursuing certificates and/or degrees in Human Services from Coastline Community College.

Qualifying employees of the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort are also eligible for scholarship opportunities for classes that are in line with their current position, department, or approved career path.

For individuals interested in early childhood education (ECE), Amador College Connect collaborates with Columbia College and First 5 Amador/Quality for Kids to offer courses and apprenticeships.

With spring approaching and the community events that warmer weather offers, we will be participating in Dandelion Days on March 16-17 and Celebrate Our Children on April 27. Stop by and visit our booth if you're there!

Late-start classes for the spring semester are still available, and colleges will be posting courses by mid-March for the upcoming summer term.

To begin your college journey or to simply get information, call our center at 209-217-8239!
Don't forget to follow us on social media to learn more!  

Our greatest TUTORING needs are in Accounting, Math, English, History, and Psychology, but if you are skilled in any academic area, we'd love to add you to our list of volunteers.

We're also looking for volunteers to help out in day-to-day operations: answering calls, general office work, etc.

We'd love for you to help us help our students!

Call: 209-217-8239

Center Hours

Monday 12 PM - 8 PM

Tuesday 12 PM - 8 PM

Wednesday 9 AM - 3 PM

Thursday 12 PM - 8 PM

Friday 9 AM - 3 PM

Dreaming about summer classes?

Give us a call!
The most reliable way to predict your future is to create it!
Articles written by Debra Bergman-Donnell
A Special Visit With a Special Senator

On Friday, February 16, Amador College Connect welcomed California State Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil and her staff to visit and tour the facility. Elected in 2022, Senator Alvarado-Gil represents Amador County, along with twelve other surrounding District 4 counties. She is an independent leader in the legislature, and one of the main policy issues she has led in the Senate includes resource equity for rural communities such as ours. Senator Alvarado-Gil and her husband live in Amador County and are owners and principals at STUDIS Partners, an education consulting firm that represents charter schools and other public school institutions throughout the United States and Central America. It was an inspiring visit, and we left feeling optimistic about the future!
Pictured from l-r: Craig Burman, Hollie Hamilton, John Tillman, Susan Zaffarano, Debra Bergman-Donnell, Paul Molinelli Jr., Emilee Cunningham, Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, Rachelle Jose de Mattos-Saldate, Sarina Castle, Karen Dickerson, and Andrew Gardner
Yes, You Can!
Perseverance Pays Off
Brittany Osa-Oni
When Brittany Osa-Oni came into Amador College Connect back in June of 2023, she knew she wanted a better future for herself and her family. She had been a stay-at-home mom for three years and found out about ACC from a family friend, Meg Newell, who has worked with ACC since 2018.

Brittany's goal is to graduate with a degree in Business Law from Coastline College. According to Brittany, "Coastline has provided a great online learning atmosphere. I can take as many classes as I’d like year-round." She adds, "The work is challenging but not difficult. My professors communicate effectively and are accessible and understanding."

When asked about her long-term aspirations, Brittany said that she is currently deciding on a realistic plan to achieve her long-term aspirations in entrepreneurship.

As far as receiving assistance from Amador College Connect, Brittany admitted it would be challenging and that she's thankful to have College Connect as part of her academic community. She stated, "I’ve received help and good vibes from each person I’ve encountered. Debra has been a great help with registering for classes, financial aid, textbook assistance, and whatever else comes up."

Outside of her busy life as a full-time mom and student, Brittany enjoys traveling, shopping, and going to amusement parks. She's also a foodie and loves music and dancing.

Brittany's advice for future or current students is to remember that discipline and consistency are the keys to success. "Keep going, no matter what! Preserve through adversity because you can do anything you put your mind to."
Hollie Hamilton
Hollie Hamilton has been in a steady mode of academic progress here at Amador College Connect since March of 2022. In fact, we are excited to announce that she has been voted in as our newest student representative board member!

Hollie began her college journey in 2001, but being a single mom to a one-year-old son made it too difficult to continue. In 2009, Hollie began studying psychology in person at Columbia College in Sonora. She worked on campus and tried to keep up with her classes, but it was still too difficult. For a stable income, she has been working in home health care since 2010.

In 2022, when Hollie met Sarina Castle, who was then working at Mother Lode Job Training, she knew she wanted to work in the human services field. Sarina, who was working on her associate's degree in human services with Coastline College, encouraged Hollie to make an appointment with ACC, where she received one-on-one assistance enrolling and getting started on her human services journey.

Now that Hollie has completed her core human services classes, she is interning with Victory Village in Jackson, helping military veterans, as part of her course's practicum. She also provides valuable peer-to-peer assistance for new students here at the ACC center.

Hollie is grateful for the assistance she has received at ACC. "Without Amador College Connect's assistance," she admitted, "I would have struggled a lot." She also wants people to know that they can achieve their desired careers. "Pace yourself," she advises, "take one step at a time, and work towards your goals."

For fun, Hollie enjoys playing fun games on her phone, like Monopoly and Sim City. It helps to clear her mind before jumping into another academic assignment.
Nǐhǎo! Buongiorno! Guten Tag!

Hola! Konichiwa!

مرحبا Marḥaban! Bonjour!

Local High School Students Expand Their Foreign Language Opportunities!
With Amador County high schools offering only Spanish as a foreign language, students are now broadening their horizons by taking an assortment of college foreign language online offerings. Currently, 27 students have taken advantage of this opportunity, with 15 taking American Sign Language and the rest taking Italian, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, and Vietnamese.

It's important to note that students planning to attend college after high school must take a minimum of two years of foreign language to enter any California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) college. Three years is recommended.

Here's a breakdown of the colleges we primarily work with and what they offer:

Coastline College: Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Columbia College: American Sign Language (ASL) and Spanish

Modesto Junior College: ASL, Italian, German, French, and Spanish

Foothill College: Japanese and Spanish
We offer completely FREE services to over 200 Amador and Calaveras County residents. Our students are earning online degrees, certificates, and high school/college credits. Ranging from ages 14 to 70 and beyond, they are paving the way for the progression of our community's success!
Did you know it's been scientifically proven that giving can boost your physical and mental health? It just feels good to know we can help others.

When you choose the convenience of automatic giving, you just sign up once and you're done!

Ultimately, your regular giving lowers our fundraising costs by reducing administrative fees, therefore freeing up more support for our students.

Donations of any size are welcome, appreciated, and important!
As a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, we depend on the generosity of our community's individuals, businesses, and organizations to help us thrive.
Scholarship Opportunity!

If you are a relative of a Native Son of the Golden West or are a Native Son member yourself, you can apply for The Native Sons of the Golden West Scholarship Foundation, which awards one $2000.00 and two $1000.00 merit-based grant awards to California high school seniors or those enrolled in a California community college, or to a first-year student in a 4-year institution of higher learning. There will also be a Vocational Skills Scholarship in the amount of $1200 awarded. The scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate achievements in academics, participation in school activities, leadership, and personal development. The scholarship is awarded without regard to race, gender, age, physical abilities, or financial status. Funds will be sent to an institution of higher learning upon proof of acceptance. Scholarship Application
Important College Dates!
Columbia Community College:
Summer 2024 priority registration opens up on March 25th, while full registration begins on April 29th, 2024.

Coastline Community College:
Summer 2024 registration begins on April 8th, 2024.

Foothill Community College:
Spring 2024 priority registration begins on February 20th, 2024, while full registration begins on February 29th, 2024.
We're Here For You!
Executive Director, Rachelle Jose de Mattos-Saldate; Program Assistant, Sarina Castle; Academic Transition Specialist, Debra Bergman-Donnell
Call us for an appointment:
MEOC Transition Specialist,
Tira Lawhorn,
specializing in financial aid services. Available by appointment on Tuesdays:

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Keep up with the Amador Community College Foundation!
ACCF Monthly board meeting agendas and minutes are available to view on our website!
Our Collaborative Schools