Community Endeavors Elevate The Beach and Beyond

This 2023-24 academic year, departments and colleges under the Division of Academic Affairs proudly collaborated with local partners to elevate our community’s knowledge, creativity, and wellbeing. Below are some of the ways our institution's off-campus partnerships holistically contribute to the betterment of ALL students, external community, and the public good. 

Fostering Local Partnerships 

Our College of Education (CED) has removed barriers against high costs of mental health counseling in the Long Beach community by implementing a high volume of strategies to proactively meet the need for affordable services. 

Their Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center (LBTRC), for example, consists of experienced clinicians and graduate students providing free mental health services to survivors of trauma, violence, and crime. This endeavor allows local clients to receive the highest standard of care while our Beach students gain field experience treating traumatic distress and PTSD. Located inside the St. Mary Medical Center Dignity Health Building, the center serves approximately 800 adults, youths, and families per year. It also provides school-based services to youth attending the Jackie Robinson K-8 Academy and has placed a therapist in the Long Beach Police Department. Services also include individual psychotherapy, group therapy, psychiatric care, and case management in both English and Spanish.  

“As the LBTRC is nearing the 10th year of operation, no-cost, evidence-based mental health services have been provided to nearly 8,000 diverse victims of crime and violence,” says LBTRC director and department of advanced studies in education and counseling chair, Dr. Bita Ghafoori, “A total of 76 graduate students have received their training at the LBTRC and have moved forward to be leaders and advocates in the provision of the highest standard of care for people suffering with traumatic distress.” 

The college also runs a Community Clinic for Counseling and Educational Services. Standing for more than 50 years, the clinic offers affordable counseling, academic intervention, and psychoeducational assessment services to community members. Additionally, the clinic is a robust training site for the master of counseling and school psychology students. 

The clinic’s hybrid services include individual mental health counseling for young adults, developmental assessments for children ages three to six, and academic interventions and psychoeducational assessments for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Each year, about 75 students get on-the-job training while approximately 85 community members receive life-changing services. 

“We offer a unique service to the community by providing the most up-to-date, research-based services at very affordable rates," said Dr. Kristin Powers, the clinic’s director and professor in the school psychology program. “We specifically seek to serve communities that are underserved and are working diligently to increase awareness about the CSULB Community Clinic across Long Beach adjoining cities.” 

Similarly, the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) also offers help for our local youth with their Strengthening Youth Resilience (SYR) program. The program situates student interns in two Long Beach middle schools and three local Boys & Girls Clubs. This partnership between Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Mental Health American of Los Angeles, and CSULB’s School of Social Work aims to increase the number of internships for our students who are required to complete 450 – 500 field hours per year.  

Offering an array of services to diverse audiences, the college also owns the Osher LifeLong Learning Institute(OLLI), a center that offers non-credit courses without academic prerequisites for those aged 50 and above. Based out of the college’s gerontology department, OLLI courses allow students to serve older adults in the Long Beach community. Some examples include assisting at the American Gold Star Manor retirement community, spearheading gardening and cooking programs, and hosting enticing lunch and learn sessions. OLLI members are also presented lectures by director of CSULB’s Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, Mitch Glickman, to promote a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Carpenter Performing Arts Center’s music. As a result, the institute was awarded the distinguished ‘Friend of the Elderly Award’ by the Retirement Housing Foundation for its long-term commitment to older adults and enhancing their quality of life. 

Advancing the Public Good  

Community partnerships at The Beach have also proven to advance and cultivate success for small businesses. Our Marketing Business Center has bolstered monumental success for both students and local businesses. Housed in our College of Business (COB), the Marketing Business Center grants students critical training and career readiness opportunities by providing free marketing services for local businesses. Fluffy’s Sno-Balls is a proud testament of our students’ successful marketing campaigns and creative efforts to advance the public good.  

Our institution is also connecting to the Long Beach community through the arts. The Carpenter Performing Arts Center’s Arts for Life Community Connections offers film screenings, fruitful talks, and exciting concerts at free or affordable rates. A long-running initiative, Arts for Life joined forces with partners from a variety of populations. Their recent engagement with Long Beach GEAR UP, a program designed to advance equity for 6th grade students and beyond, fosters relationships with youth beyond the classroom. GEAR UP students visit our campus annually and are invited to a plethora of performances. Like GEAR UP’s sixth graders, veterans from the VA Long Beach Medical Center are also encouraged to witness the center’s talent and artistry. 

Additionally, the College of the Arts’ (COTA) film and electronics (FEA) department uses its artistic talents to positively impact our community in the name of sustainability. Because filmmaking is known for its environmental footprint, FEA has made strides to prove that storytelling and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive. Associate Professor of Narrative Production, Kent Hayward, galvanized his passion for sustainability through the Green Film School Alliance. A collaboration of academic leaders committed to implementing industry-standard sustainability practices, the alliance encourages students to reduce items and expendables from film sets. Hayward shares best practices at convenings with other educational film leaders and at educational conferences. 

This December, the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum is hosting a Day With(out) Art in commemoration of World AIDS Day. A two-day feast, the event will highlight wellness and self-care strategies in effort to raise awareness on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in support of our LGBTQ+ communities. The event proudly partnered with Bienestar Human Services, an organization committed to the health and well-being of those from historically underserved backgrounds. We invite you to celebrate with our larger community from December 1 – 2.  

Adding to our list of successful partnerships is our College of Engineering (COE). In collaboration with the City of Long Beach and Long Beach Economic Partnership, they aim to expand STEM careers in our local community. Mayor Rex Richardson pledged to attract 100 new startup companies to the city in the next five years. Recognized for its strong industry relationships, COE will be instrumental in providing companies with experienced and career-ready graduates. The partnership hopes to supply incoming graduates with job security and fulfilling careers near to their alma mater. 

Staff and Faculty Community Involvement 

In addition to their job duties, a significant number of Beach faculty and staff continue to work, contribute, and enhance their communities for ALL: 

  • CHHS’ Dr. Jeremy Ramirez is spearheading a $14.1M project to match qualifying veterans with service dogs. The effort aims to further veterans’ overall well-being and quality of life. 

  • Computer Technician in the department of dance, Greg Crosby, leads production sets for St. Cornelius Catholic School’s drama program. 

  • Administrative Coordinator for COTA, Joseph Phillips, is a member of the CSULB Sharpedos, an esports team that builds camaraderie with other universities around the globe through competitive play. 

  • School of Arts Administrative Analyst, Karen Warner, compassionately knit sweaters for our Long Beach community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • Communications and Outreach Coordinator for COTA, Bethany Price, directs, produces, screen writes, and coaches young actors in the Long Beach community. 

  • FEA’s Community Engagement Specialist, Sarah Len, sings for the Long Beach Camerata, a professional group dedicated to social justice, ecological responsibility, and musical excellence. 

Together, our CSULB community breaks barriers and exhibits an unwavering commitment to excellence, our partnerships, and advancing the public good. Collectively, we aim to elevate our students, faculty, staff, and the community that surrounds us as One Beach.