New help desk at Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino to provide educational information, opportunities

Say two parents new to the country want their child to have the same educational opportunities as others but don’t know what programs are available.

Or, say they’re unsure how credits their child obtained in their home country transfer into local school districts.

A new help desk at the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino will provide that information and more.

On Monday, the consulate and the San Bernardino Community College District opened what’s being called the Educational Opportunities Help Desk, a resource for families attempting to navigate the education system in inland Southern California and Mexico.

Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-San Bernardino, attended the ribbon cutting, as did district board members and consulate officials.

“This is a team effort,” Trustee Frank Reyes said. “It’s all about working together.”

Several of these help desks have been operating in California cities, such as Fresno, Los Angeles and Santa Ana, the past couple years.

With more than 1.7 million Mexican Americans living in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, consulate and district leaders collaborated to bring a service center to the Inland Empire.

“We looked at how we could strengthen our educational partnership to serve everyone across inland Southern California,” said Bruce Baron, district chancellor. “With the Mexican Consulate here and the region it serves, it was a natural fit to work with them.”

The help desk strives to provide parents free information on all things education. Bilingual staffers will serve as liaisons between the district and the community.

Interpersonal interaction should benefit older parents unfamiliar with, and perhaps intimidated by, electronics, Reyes said. “Face-to-face communication will make them feel welcomed here.”

The space in the consulate is being offered free of charge. District officials are working on a set staffing schedule and hours of operation.

In addition to helping families new to the country, the desk will serve families with children who received an education here and are moving elsewhere. Information on district partners such as UC Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino and San Bernardino City Unified School District should also be available.

“For us, for our region and our population, providing educational opportunities is a top priority,” Baron said. “Like every community college, we’re doing our best to serve our community.”

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