Winter/Spring 2022/23 Newsletter
Letter from our Director
Rachelle José de Mattos-Saldate
Like much of the surrounding region, Amador College Connect continues to have an exciting, storm-filled winter season. Despite the storms, this has not dampened our students' spirits as they and our staff continue plowing through...literally. This demonstrates the advantage of online learning! For interested individuals, there is still time to enroll in late-start classes for the spring semester. Call our center to learn more! We do look forward to spring and enjoying community events that warmer weather offers, such as Dandelion Days on March 18-19 and Celebrate Our Children on April 22. Stop by and visit our booth if you're there.
If you are interested in taking classes this summer, the registration period begins soon. Colleges will be posting courses by mid-March. We also have volunteer tutors and peer mentors ready to assist our students. Our dual enrollment program in partnership with Amador County Unified School District continues to grow; to date, we have helped over 70 high school students take higher education courses while simultaneously obtaining high-school graduation credits.  
Finally, I want to express how much we deeply appreciate the donations from community members at Giving Tuesday, including the Sutter Creek Woman's Club, as well as last month's generous donation from the Bank of Marin to support our mission of providing accessible educational opportunities to our community.  
Please follow us on social media to learn more!  

Come on in!
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
Summer is Only Three Months Away!
Colleges will begin posting summer courses by mid-March.
Give us a call!
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.
Community Advocates For Our Future
Articles written by Debra Bergman-Donnell
Celina Clark began her college journey in 2017 when she discovered Amador College Connect in the local newspaper. She started with a business administration course but decided to apply for the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) scholarship program because she wanted a career that would allow her to help people in need. Once she began the MHSA program, she quickly discovered how much she appreciated the camaraderie and support. 

While taking care of her dad who was dying of heart failure, Celina learned firsthand what it was like to offer care to someone in need. The doctors gave him only three months to live, but with Celina's support, he courageously lived on for another six years!

Celina's academic goal is to complete her associate degree in human services with Coastline College. So far, she has successfully completed three courses and is now taking one this semester. Celina most appreciates how the professors at Coastline genuinely care about their students.

Even though Celina is busy juggling several jobs and college, she still makes time to expand her knowledge by attending the QPR Gatekeeper Training (suicide prevention), as well as her monthly MHSA cohort meetings. She also enthusiastically volunteered to serve at our Barn Dance fundraiser last October at the Laughton Ranch.

Since Celina has experienced two wildfires that required her to evacuate from her home, she aspires to find a career that will allow her to give back to Amador County, where she received assistance when she needed it most. "I would like to use the information I’m learning in human services to help people in Amador County, full-time," she stated.

When asked about her experience with Amador College Connect, she noted, "The staff are extremely supportive and accommodating. Without them," she continued, "it would be a long and lonely commute to other community colleges outside of Amador County."

Celine encourages others to use Amador College Connect as a local resource: "Don’t be afraid to try it out because you don’t know what type of opportunities are out there until you muster up the courage to try."

We are so fortunate to have such an all-around awesome, service-based individual as Celina Clark right here in our own county!
Justin Wilson works full-time, is a single parent of a young teenage daughter, and is attending online courses at Columbia College. When he first stepped into our center back in February of 2022, he wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to study, but he knew it had to be connected to his Native American culture. His tech-savvy daughter, Eternity, came in with him to guide him as we set up usernames and passwords.

With his busy life, he knew the only way to achieve his college goal was to do it online. We set him up to meet with our MEOC transition specialist, Tira Lawhorn, and she connected him to Stephanie Guzman-Beaver who works with Native Student Initiatives at Columbia.

Justin began his first class, Life Skills for Higher Education, on June 29 and finished successfully with an A. He then aced Native People of North America. Now he is taking English 1A and is planning to enroll for more courses this summer and fall.

Last April, Justin and his daughter were able to attend the "Native Voices" event at the Columbia campus in Sonora. This free event showcased indigenous hip-hop bands and inspiring Native-based lectures which inspired him to continue pursuing his passion.

For his final paper in his Native People of North America course (see excerpt below), Justin wrote an eye-opening essay on the Oqlala Sioux tribe in South Dakota. In his essay, Justin discussed the extensive poverty and the negative impact of alcohol on this reservation. Ending on a positive note, however, Justin added that "Good is happening in the Oqlala communities as such programs like the 'Culture and Meth Don't Mix'...for meth prevention of Native Youth."

Currently, Justin is working to complete a certificate or associate degree with an ultimate goal of getting a bachelor's in Native governance. He is working hard to be "the role model and reason/inspiration" for his teenage daughter to pursue college. Little does he know that he is already an inspiration to many others as well.

Justin admits it would have been really hard to pursue college without Amador College Connect. He says that the staff are "beyond helpful and very understanding," His advice for future or current students is, "Don't give've got the inspiration and determination, that's what you need to succeed."

Pride! Volunteers Needed
Amador Arts Art Show at Sierra Wind
May 19 - 26
For more info call: (209) 223-1956

Call for Artists!
Amador Arts' LGBTQ+ Safe Space will be hosting an art exhibit from May 26 through June 30. Artwork submissions are due on May 19 (see link below).
Reception on May 26, 5 to 7 PM
Theme & Location TO BE ANNOUNCED
We Thank You!
Amador Community College Foundation and Amador College Connect would like to extend our appreciation to the generous donators who contributed a total of $8,293.97. These much-needed funds will help us to continue serving our community. We especially want to thank the Sutter Creek Woman's Club for their continued support. We are together building a stronger and more robust community.
Once again, Bank of Marin, Jackson, has graciously gifted us with a check in the amount of $5,000. During these financially challenging times, we appreciate more than ever the impact that such generosity can have. The positive ripple effect to our students, staff, and community at large will continue as we expand our boundaries.
Important College Dates!
Coastline Community College:
March 20 - April 14: Priority Registration for summer semester.
April 17 - April 30: Open registration for summer semester.
May 1: Summer semester begins
August 19: Summer semester ends.

Columbia College:
March 27: Summer registration appointments sent to students.
April 3 - April 28: Priority registration for summer semester.
May 1: Open registration for summer semester begins.
May 1: Summer semester begins.
August 19: Summer semester ends.

Foothill College:
March 15: Summer course schedule available
July 3: Summer courses begin
Late-start classes are also available! Contact us for registration deadlines and/or to make an appointment!

Our greatest needs are in Accounting, Math, English, Science, and Human Services, but if you are skilled in any academic area, we'd love to put you on our list of volunteers. All of our volunteer tutors have the desire to help out in the community. If you are interested in sharing your wisdom, please contact us!
Important Center Dates
March 9 MHSA COHORT Meeting 6:30

March 16 ACCF Board Meeting 4:30 PM

March 27 - March 31 Office Closed for Spring Break Week

April 13 MHSA COHORT Meeting 6:30

April 20 ACCF Board Meeting 4:30 PM

May 18 ACCF Board Meeting 4:30 PM

May 29 Office Closed for Memorial Day
We're Here For You!
Michelle Tillery, Program Assistant
Debra Bergman-Donnell, Transitional Specialist
Rachelle José de Mattos-Saldate, Executive Director
Tira Lawhorn, MEOC Transition Specialist
Available by appointment on Tuesdays
Call: 209-588-5077
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Keep up with the Amador Community College Foundation!
ACCF Monthly board meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings are available to view on our website!
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