The CASA academic program is based in community-based participatory action research, organizing, service and engagement. These methodologies equitably involve community members, organizational representatives, faculty instructors and student researchers. All partners participate in the process: contributing expertise, decision-making, and sharing ownership of what is produced. The aim is to increase knowledge and understanding but also to integrate knowledge with interventions for policy or social change to benefit community members. This inherently transdisciplinary framework allows a variety of methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, mapping, etc.), on a variety of subject matters that connect to the interests and needs of collaborating students, faculty, and community partners.
The partnerships we have are intentionally long-term and deeply engaged. Here are the eight core community partner organizations that our students and faculty primarily engage with:
The Arts Area provides professional development, civic advocacy, resource support, and fiscal sponsorship for the creative industries of the Inland Empire of Southern California, including the areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, and east Los Angeles Counties. The role of economic development includes a broad range of activities to attract, create, and retain jobs, and to foster a resilient, growing, and inclusive economy.
Huerta del Valle is an urban farm and community garden that serves 62 families, who each maintain a 20 foot by 10-foot plot of land for just $35 a year, giving them access to fresh food at low cost. In addition, there is a weekly farmer’s market on Wednesday and Saturdays. Through growing food, they work toward sustainable community empowerment and health: creating meaningful work, building lasting skills and developing strong relationships within the city of Ontario.
The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, is composed of over 35 organizations that serve the immigrant community in the Inland Empire, advocating for just and humane immigration reform and respect. Among other strategies, they engage in policy advocacy, community organizing and education, and rapid response to ICE and border patrol operations
The Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective is an undocumented youth-led grassroots organization in the Inland Empire. They are committed to creating a safe space for immigrant youth regardless of legal status, sexuality or other intersections that are crucial to the undocumented identity.
Starting Over, Inc. specializes in providing transitional housing and reentry services for formerly incarcerated individuals while helping to build strong communities through recovery, civic engagement, and leadership development. Riverside All of Us or None, a local chapter of All of Us or None, is part of a national organizing initiative of prisoners, formerly incarcerated people, organizing to end mass incarceration and the discrimination faced by formerly incarcerated people.
A local nonprofit, 501(c)(3), organization founded in 2011 dedicated to improving working conditions in the warehouse industry in Southern California. They focus on education, advocacy and action to change poor working conditions in the largest hub of warehousing in the country.
The Youth Mentoring Action Network is a critical mentoring program dedicated to leveraging the power of mentoring relationships to increase access to opportunities and higher education for high school youth. Their work centers youth voices (especially LGBTQ and youth of color) and a critical justice lens.
Motivating Action Leadership Opportunity is a nonprofit organization that serves Tongan Americans in the Inland Empire area through youth mentorship, job readiness, resource literacy, and cultural gathering events.