College can be challenging and stressful for students, but there is a department that can help students succeed.
By Lily Teran
The department of services for women and non-traditional students, or SWANS, consists of three programs: the women’s center, Seguir Adelante and Mi Casa.
SWANS supervisor Abby Gonzalez said, “These three programs provide services for women and non-traditional students, including single parents, displaced homemakers, first-generation college students, residents of public housing, dislocated workers and other individuals needing support to succeed in a college environment.”
Between these three programs, students and the community have access to academic advising, career counseling, transportation and textbook assistance, childcare referrals, parenting support programs, educational services to help those re-entering college, scholarships resources and employment skills workshops.
These free services can help a student earn a GED to clear the way to an associate or bachelor’s degree.
“All three programs have been available for over 35 years, however the women’s center is the most popular program used,” Gonzalez said.
In fact, the women’s center received the 2006 Model Program Award from the American Association of Women in Community College.
The program focuses on helping women enrolled in any of the Alamo Colleges by providing childcare suggestions, family courses and computer labs.
Business sophomore Janie Everding said she used the childcare provider they suggested, which gave her the opportunity to attend college.
Everding frequently uses the center’s labs and printing services to complete work because she doesn’t own a personal computer.
Seguir Adelante focuses on helping community members and students to re-enter college. They answer questions about admissions and enrollment.
Nursing freshman Maria Chavez said she couldn’t have re-entered college without the help she received from the staff of Seguir Adelante.
Chavez said they not only helped her through the enrollment process, but they also motivated her to overcome her obstacles to re-entry.
Chavez said she felt comfortable asking questions. “It’s a relief to have help during the enrolment process.”
She’s been out of college since 2008, so she’s thankful the center was able to assist her and give her the opportunity to use the lab.
The Mi Casa program, only for Alamo Colleges students, focuses on helping students advance in college.
The program offers labs with printing, also assistance in English, math and communications skills. Students often get help on résumés or cover letters.
“We want to help every student succeed,” Gonzalez said.
All three programs are open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday. For more information, call Gonzalez at 210-486-0455.