National program promotes education, success

Club allows space to fulfill dreams, plan for future


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Psychology major Mauricio Duarte (left) and computer science major Marcella Navas (right) listen to club President Esmeralda Martinez during the Puente Club meeting on Sept. 21 in the SA-100.

By Jose Chavez, Advocate Staff

The Puente Club aims to support students with their educational goals while providing a family support system for its members.

The club branched out of the Puente Project, a nationally recognized program focused on increasing transfer rates for underrepresented students.

“Honestly, if it weren’t for the Puente Club, I would have dropped out,” Esmeralda Madriz, Puente Club president and undecided major, said.  Madriz is currently president of the Puente Club for the 2016-17 academic year.

She said the environment that the Puente Club offers is comforting since its members share similar goals and work together to plan activities and trips to universities.

They also participate in activities that support their local communities, like tutoring elementary school students or becoming writing coaches for K-12 students.

The club meets from 2-3 p.m. in the Student and Administration Building on Wednesdays and is open for any Contra Costa College student who is looking forward to transferring or participating in on-campus events.

The club is made up of more than 10 members.

Psychology major Mauricio Duarte said, “I think it adds to your success in college. We all share a common goal — to transfer.”

Duarte said he’s been to three meetings this semester and joining Puente has been the “best decision” he has made so far while at the college. He is a student in the current Puente Project class.

Counselor and club adviser Norma Valdez-Jimenez said the club offers a space for students to be able to share ideas as well as visit college campuses.

Valdez-Jimenez joins the Puente Club during its meetings to help plan events and guides them through discussion during weekly meetings.

Members of the club come together and fundraise to visit college campuses across the state, plan social events where all members can spend time with one another, and even do community service together.

“The Puente Club has always been really good at fundraising and saving money throughout the semesters,” Valdez-Jimenez said.

She said she wants club members to plan a number of ways to put the money to use, as well as set fundraising goals.

Madriz said she wants students to bring ideas to the club. She said one of her goals for this semester is to make sure that members have a fun experience.

Political science major and Inter Club Council (ICC) Chairperson Jose Arebalo said the Puente Club has a lot of ideas to bring to the campus and so far have been active and present during the ICC meetings.