Student Transition and Academic Retention Team (START)

Note to students: The content on this page applies to students at both the Pleasant Hill and San Ramon campuses.

Covid-19 Emergency Grant

Are you having difficulty paying your college costs or experiencing a financial emergency related to attending college due to the COVID-19 pandemic ? If so, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Grant! Students enrolled for summer 2022 can apply for  $1000 grant to help with books, supplies, housing, food, transportation, technology needs, health care, child care and other costs. Don’t let a financial emergency keep you from completing your educational goals at DVC! Funds are limited! Learn more and apply now!

START is a Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI)  support program designed to increase access, retention, and graduation rates for current or former foster youth at DVC. Our goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment, create a support network, and empower foster youth students to make progress towards self-sufficiency, professional success, and community leadership.

Check out this video for an overview of the START program and our Connect, Community, and Scholars tier structure!

How can START help you?

  • Assistance with enrollment (application, orientation, assessment, and registration)
  • Setting up an appointment with an academic counselor to obtain an educational plan
  • Processing eligibility for priority registration
  • Expedited financial aid processing (FAFSA, California Promise Grant, CHAFEE, Missing Information Checklist, etc.)
  • Access to John Burton Foundation's book fund (while supplies last)
  • Assistance with scholarship applications and provide letters of recommendation
  • Assistance with Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) application
  • Direct referrals to other support programs on campus (DSS, Tutoring, Career, Transfer, etc.)
  • Referrals to off-campus resources (housing, child care, transportation, food banks, etc.)
  • Monthly social gatherings, workshops, and celebrations
  • On-campus employment and leadership opportunities
  • Regular check-ins with START program staff

How to apply for the START program 

To apply for the START program, students must complete the following:

  1. Complete START program Application Form
  2. Schedule an in-take appointment with START program coordinator
  3. Submit a ward of the court letter, verifying that you are or were in court-ordered, out of home, care placement between the ages of 13-18

Contact START Foster Youth

Program Coordinator: Mercedes Lezama 
Telephone:

925-969-2203 (campus)
925-338-1080 (remote)
Email: mlezama@dvc.edu 
Office location: SSC 127, Pleasant Hill campus map 
Schedule        Tuesday & Thursday (campus)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday (remote)
Financial Aid Coordinator: Zuhal Rahmani
Telephone: 925-969-2099
Email: zurahmani@dvc.edu
Office location: SSC 1st floor Financial Aid Office, Pleasant Hill campus map 
Drop-in hours: Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am - 2 pm
Counselor: Alicia Brizzi
Telephone: 925-969-2166
Email: abrizzi@dvc.edu 
Office location: SSC 127, Pleasant Hill campus map 
Drop-in hours: Monday-Thursday from 2 pm - 3 pm
Appointment schedule: Monday and Tuesday (campus)
Thursday and Friday (remote)