TMCC’s Men of Color Mentorship Program Adopts Local Park
Since August of 2018, the TMCC Men of Color (MOC) Mentorship Program has been performing community service at Melody Park as a part of its mentor-based program that supports male high school students who identify as a minority—a group that, according to the data, is the least likely to pursue a college education. Recently, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful officially “adopted” Melody Lane Park to MOC, in part, because of their excellent upkeep of this public space over the past two years.
“There used to be large weeds that grew in the playground area, and we would typically find a lot of cigarette butts, alcohol bottles, and even once, a random shoe,” said MOC Mentorship Program Coordinator Miguel Martinez. “The last time we were there, though, it was relatively clean. Our clean-up work has definitely made a difference.”
Melody Park, with its central location close to TMCC, Hug and Reed High Schools, enabled MOC students to complete their required hours of community service without demanding a large commitment of travel time. Now that TMCC MOC is the official steward of the park, the organization is required to fulfill 60 hours of community service there every year. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful will assist with this, granting MOC access to tools to pick up trash, rakes, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.
“They really wanted us to have the tools we need, and to be safe,” said Martinez, who noted that students who participated in the last park clean-up practiced social distancing and wore masks.
Moving forward, MOC will also adopt Miguel Ribara Park, located on Neil Road, and will begin alternating parks as a part of their monthly community service hours between the two locations, which will resume again in February (they have temporarily been suspended due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the community.)
“We’ve received a lot of compliments for doing this beautification work,” Martinez said. “And, for the students, it’s work that looks good on a resume.”
In addition to providing students with the opportunity to complete community service projects, MOC is continuing to support student success despite COVID-19. This past semester, the organization hosted a speaker series featuring entrepreneurs and professionals who spoke to the specific challenges of their profession.
Although the MOC students—like all of us—struggle to remain motivated to connect through additional video conferences on top of their required ones for school, they continue to participate in the mentorship program. “They see the benefits of connecting with one another and keeping the relationships we have alive,” Martinez said.
Kayla Pressburger created, designed and donated these masks to the SPCA.
The designs on the masks are Pressburger's unique creations.
Pressburger donated the masks to the local SPCA so they can continue their important work.
TMCC Student Supports SPCA by Sewing, Designing and Donating Masks
TMCC Graphic Arts and Media Technologies student Kayla Pressburger, who is in her final semester of the Advanced Certificate program, combined her passion for helping animals with her academic and professional pursuit in graphic design. Pressburger, who served as a volunteer foster kitten parent for many years at the SPCA of Northern Nevada, was able to give back to the organization thanks to an Independent Study class she’s completing this semester.
“I got the idea for the project this summer, after sewing together masks for friends and family. I thought it would be interesting to screen print and do some custom designs onto masks to make them a bit more exciting to wear,” she said. After pitching the idea to her instructor, Ron Marston, he suggested creating a design for an organization, like the SPCA.
“I thought that was such a great idea, since I’ve been a volunteer for many years at the SPCA, but since starting college, I haven’t had time to volunteer as much as I’d like,” she said.
The masks would be a way for Pressburger to give back in the pursuit of her Advanced Certificate, providing much-needed support to one of our community’s vital organizations. “It is important to continue to support [the SPCA] during this time because homeless pets in Northern Nevada need us now more than ever. While the pandemic has caused many guardians to surrender their beloved pets, it has also given many people the time to adopt a new family member. We cannot do the lifesaving work we do without the support of our community,” said Nayla Garcia, Community Outreach and Volunteer Manager for the SPCA.
Pressburger created designs featuring images dogs and cats that had a “lighthearted feel” to them. Creating designs and “getting into a creative flow” that enables her to see projects come together are Pressburger’s favorite parts of the design process. During this semester in the Advanced Certificate program, she has been focusing on expanding her knowledge on design and improving her technical skills.
“I was initially drawn to graphic design because it is both a creative and technical field,” she said. After completing the Advanced Certificate program, Pressburger plans on starting the 3+1 Bachelor’s Degree program in Visual Media offered through a partnership with TMCC and Nevada State College in the spring.
Pressburger donated her masks on Thursday, Dec. 3, which were well-received by the SPCA staff. “Kayla taking the time to create these masks for our organization is no small feat. COVID-19 has put a damper on our operations, but our staff continues to power through and these masks will protect them while they do their jobs,” said Garcia. “Without our team we cannot rescue, care, or adopt out animals or keep our thrift store running. Keeping our team safe is our top priority and these masks will help us do that.”