Posted on June 25, 2022
The Campus group supports students who were previously incarcerated
Arturo ‘Cheech’ Raygoza, with members and supporters of Hancock’s Beyond Incarceration Greater Education Club. (Courtesy picture)
The Beyond Incarceration Greater Education (BIGE) Club at Allan Hancock College received a $7,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Fund to continue its transformative work on and off campus.
This is the second time the club, which provides support and resources to formerly incarcerated Hancock students, and outreach activities in the community, has received a grant from the fund.
“I am very grateful to the Santa Barbara Fund for providing this grant to BIGE,” said Arturo “Cheech” Raygoza, co-founder and past president of BIGE. “This club has given me and students like me the opportunity to succeed. These funds will allow us to give back and pass on this opportunity to our community.
The club will use grant funds to continue to support outreach efforts to local promising (at-risk) youth; provide support systems to reduce recidivism; and encourage them to pursue college education and a career. Raygoza and other club members regularly reach out to young people at several local high schools as well as regional at-risk youth programs.
“For a lot of these kids, college is something they may not have even considered as an option,” Raygoza said. “We want to show them that there is a better way and that college can open up a whole new world of opportunity for them.”
The BIGE club is all-inclusive and currently has over 40 members. Seven club members earned degrees or certificates from Hancock in 2022, including Raygoza, who is transferring to UC Berkeley to pursue a four-year degree.
As he prepares to take the next step in his education, Raygoza is confident the club will continue their important work at Hancock. “It’s a great group with great leadership, and I know they will continue BIGE’s mission,” he said.
BIGE were not the only Hancock club to receive a grant from the fund this year. The college’s DREAM club received a $2,850 award to help provide undocumented students with needed legal resources and information through several events throughout the year.
To learn more about BIGE and other student clubs at Hancock, visit www.hancockcollege.edu/asbg/clubs.php. Learn more about the Fund for Santa Barbara at https://fundforsantabarbara.org.