top of page

Elizabeth Goes to College! A success story

Good afternoon, my name is Elizabeth L., and I am part of the Youth Employment Program at OCCTAC (Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center). I am 25 years old, and I have two daughters, the oldest one is three, and the little one is one. Before enrolling in the program, I was a stay at home mom for two years and then worked for one year. When I graduated high school, I attended college for a year but I never really knew what career I wanted to take. I also did not take college too seriously.

To my luck, I came across this program the day I went to register my daughter in the Early Start program at OCCTAC. That day I met Arline Dominguez, and she gave me information about the program and the classes they offered. All the guidance she gave me got me motivated to go back to school and made my goals of a better future more attainable. Several years later with two kids and a new perspective on life, I decided this would be a good start to continue my education. I decided to join the office clerk program, which consists of Intro to Keyboarding, Intro to Word, Intro to Windows, and Employability Skills. In the beginning, I did not know what to expect from the office clerk program. I felt overwhelmed with all the classes I would be taking and how my daily routine would change. I have to admit I enjoy all of my classes. One course, in particular, Employability Skills, helped me gain not only a lot of knowledge but also personal growth. This class focuses on various Employability Skills to help us be more successful and stand out from others in the job field. Personally, it has helped me grow and reflect on how I interact with the people I come across. It has also helped me break out of my shell and helped me see my strengths and weaknesses.

I can tell that my instructors care about the success of their students. They help us with our schoolwork but also with our educational goals. They give us tips or advice on continuing our education. It is not only them but also Arline, Jasmine, and the Youth Employment Program team. They do as much as they can to motivate us and help us with our goals. They give us things like a bus pass every month; they have tutors in case you need help academically, and they provide us with school supplies, offer to counsel and made it possible for my two daughters to attend the Early start and Pre-Kinder Program at OCCTAC. I appreciate all their help because money is a little tight in our household.

Right now, I am currently doing my “work experience” with the front desk at OCCTAC. Jennifer, who is the YEP Career Counselor, helped me find a career that I enjoy and enroll at Santa Ana College. I will be starting college this fall 2018. I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration with a minor in criminal justice and hopefully one day work for the government. To some, my office clerk certificate might not be a huge accomplishment, but to me, it is more than that, it is a door to a better future for my family and me. I want to say that I am very thankful for all the people that make this program possible because they are also part of the student’s success.

Learn More About This Program


OCCTAC Dance Students Participate in SAUSD Boca De Oro Festival

OCCTAC’s student dancers and teaching artists were honored to participate in the third annual Boca De Oro Festival of Literary Arts & Culture in downtown Santa Ana on March 2nd. Teaching artist Jesus Mora presented an engaging Stop Motion Animation workshop where participants created their own 8-second stop motion videos using clay and imagination. Despite the rain that day, several families came by our rain location above the Frida Cinema and created a little cinema magic of their own! Later in the evening, our dancers closed the event and drew quite a crowd with their lively dance and literacy performances, under the direction of our new Dance Coordinator, Janelle Ayon. The dancers read from the children’s book, Vampirina Ballerina, and referenced the book and The History of Classical Ballet in their choreography that highlighted the correlation between folk, ballet and modern dance. The dancers performed special numbers to music by Cri Cri, Francisco Gabilando Soler, Mexico’s cherished composer of Children’s Songs and a dance literacy piece that shared the history of classical ballet and how developed from court dances to formal technique of folk dances across the globe.

Boca de Oro, “mouth of gold” curates diverse and evocative writers, poets, storytellers and artists who present their work through literary readings, workshops, panel discussions, poetry slams, spoken word styles and visual art experiences. The sister component event, Almas Sonadoras is an arts and performance fest featuring young artists, faculty and staff from Santa Ana Unified School District. A Fringe of the March Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk, Boca de Oro is a gift from Community Engagement with Santa Ana’s small businesses through the Santa Ana Business Council in partnership with Santa Ana Unified School District and the City of Santa Ana.


Seniors Share Love During Valentine's Day

At the Creative Arts and Crafts for Seniors class, Mrs. A., an 84 year-old widow, approached one of the case managers to share how helpful the classes and program have been for her and other participants. Mrs. A. lost her husband of 57 years more than a year ago. Losing her husband left her with a deep feeling of loneliness. After she started joining EISOA classes and activities, Mrs. A. started feeling more happy and healthy. Mrs. A. is very active in the program and she loves to color and improve her coloring skills. EISOA has made a positive impact on the life of Mrs. A. by helping her to feel alive again after losing her beloved husband. (Left Picture)

During our EISOA Arts and Crafts Therapy class, 74 year-old Mrs. G. shared with one of the case managers that since she started attending the EISOA activities, she has noticed that her hands are not as stiff as before. Mrs. G. stated, “I had limited movement in my hands, but since I started attending the classes and started coloring, I noticed that I have better movement in my fingers”. Mrs. G. enrolled in the program in July 2018 and has been active in most of the classes and other activities offered by EISOA. (RightPicture)


Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, but many of our participants are without their loved one on Valentine’s Day. This can cause great sadness for them and remind them of their loss. However, OCCTAC EISOA program made Valentine’s Day a happy day for our beloved participants on February 9, 2019. During our celebration, participants joined in different activities where they delighted in each moment. Participants made Valentine’s Day cards for their family members, they shared different meals that they have enjoyed for Valentine’s Day over the years and even shared their treasured recipes. Our celebration allowed the participants to come together, have a fun Valentine's Day dance, dress up for the occasion and dance the night away

Learn More About This Program

31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page