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November 28, 2005

United Way names Catherine Cooper a Community Hero

By Jennifer McNulty

Catherine Cooper, professor of psychology and education, received a Community Hero award from the United Way of Santa Cruz County for her work with Elizabeth Dominguez, director of the Cabrillo Advancement Program at Cabrillo College. Dominguez was also recognized as a Community Hero.

Cooper and Dominguez have collaborated for more than 11 years on the "Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance." The alliance is devoted to encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to get on the path to higher education and college-based careers by increasing their awareness of college as an option for them and of the resources that are available to them.

Active in six states, the alliance reaches out to children, beginning with sixth-graders, and works with families, schools, and neighborhood programs to “bridge multiple worlds” and build university/community partnerships that open the academic pipeline to youth of all backgrounds, including those of African, Chinese, Filipino, Latino, European, Japanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Native American descent.

Earlier this year, the alliance and UCSC's Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community received nearly $1 million from the Kellogg Foundation to support their work promoting educational achievement, economic equity, and environmental justice.

A total of 25 community heroes were recognized for their contributions toward United Way's long-term goals. Cooper and Dominguez were honored for their work helping more Santa Cruz County students graduate from high school job-ready or prepared for higher education. Others were honored for their work in health, the environment (social and natural), the economy, and public safety.

Brian King, president of Cabrillo College, presided over the awards ceremony, which was held November 18.

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