Community Service Learning Projects

Braceros of Ventura County

Dr. Alamillo has involved students in community service learning projects.
In 2008, CI students became involved with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History to document the Bracero experience. CHS created courses (CHS 292 and CHS 499) that focused on the Bracero Oral History Project (BOHP) in which students conducted oral history interviews and collected dozens of photographs, documents, and artifacts that tell the story of the largest guest-worker program in U.S. history.  Overall, students conducted over 80 oral history interviews with ex-Braceros and their families, researched local newspapers and archives, scanned photographs, organized town-hall meetings, and designed an exhibition,“The Braceros of Ventura County” that opened to the public from Sept. 9 to Oct. 31, 2010. Students in CHS 499 were trained as docents to conduct exhibit tours to high school classes, community groups, and family members. CHS students also created social studies curriculum to teach about the Bracero Program at Pacifica High School in Oxnard.  In spring 2013, CHS 499 students worked with a community partner (Cabrillo Economic Dev. Corp) to design an exhibition at the Valle Naranjal farmworker housing complex in Piru, CA.  Students were trained by the Center for Oral and Public History at CSU Fullerton to edit and publish transcripts of the bracero interviews.  Students also created a digital archive at the CI Broome Library. The main goal was to create a digital repository in the Broome Library that would help researchers and K-16 educators to teach the Bracero experience in Ventura County.

Place Matters: Oxnard’s Wagon Wheel Community

In fall 2014 CI students began documenting the community history of Oxnard’s historic Wagon Wheel Neighborhood, located at the intersection of Highway 101 and Oxnard Blvd. This neighborhood was scheduled to be demolished in early 2015 and replaced with the Wagon Wheel Family Apartments that will consist of 120 units of affordable housing for low-income residents and a community park. Students worked closely with community partners to recover the history of this forgotten and overlooked multi-ethnic working-class neighborhood in Oxnard, California. CI Students worked collaboratively with attorney Barbara Macri-Ortiz, the Wagon Wheel Residents Committee, and Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. to develop an oral history project.  Students conducted oral interviews, used video recording equipment, scanned family album photographs, designed cognitive maps, and collected artifacts with the central goal of creating a future exhibition and mural on the future site of Wagon Wheel Family Apartments.

From the Barrio to the Big Leagues: Latino/as and Baseball

In Spring 2016, CI students participated in a community collecting initiative titled Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues, sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Latino Initiatives and the National Museum of American History, focusing on the historic role that baseball has played as a social and cultural force within Latino/a communities. Students partnered with CSU San Bernardino and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in this collecting initiative, by conducting oral history interviews of former players, collecting memorabilia and photographs, and writing blogs. A former student, who participated in a similar Latino baseball project in spring 2015, continued his involvement beyond graduation because he believed in the importance of this recovery project. This student became the co-author of the book, Mexican American Baseball in Ventura County.