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As one of the top community colleges in the state, Las Positas boasts some of the best programs available, as well as some of the best educators and staff. In the African-American Education Network Development (A²MEND) program we have both.

For many students, Las Positas College is as far as they take their education. For many careers an Associate’s Degree is sufficient. But those looking to move on to a four-year school may visit the Transfer Center. 

Many students that seek information from the Transfer Center find themselves across the desk from Terrance Thompson, the Transfer Center Coordinator. Thompson has been a staple of the center since joining Las Positas in 2012. But his work with Bay Area youth and young adults long before that.

Thompson began his work with young African-American males in 1994 with the East Oakland Youth Development Center in what was once called the Murder Corridor of Oakland, an area known for high crime rates and a high number of high school dropouts. Thompson worked within the community running a GED program as well as a job training program. Thompson was the director of job opportunities for youth, also known as Project J.O.Y.

In 1998, Thompson began his career in academia as the Career and Transfer Center Coordinator for Chabot College. In his time at Chabot, Thompson continued his work with students of color.

Thompson was a mentor for both the Struggling Black Brother Coalition and the Daraja program now known as Umoja. In 2009, Thompson learned of the A²MEND program and began attending their conferences.

A²MEND was formed in 2006 by six African-American male administrators who met at UCLA at an annual professional development conference for new college administrators. While striking up a dialogue about the difficulties facing African-American males, they realized that very few people were addressing this tissue and thus was overdue for action. Since it was formed, A²MEND has served as nonprofit focused on addressing the lack of educational success of African-American male students in community colleges.

“It intrigued me because there wasn’t a lot of Black presence in the administration and community college,” Thompson said.

In 2021 A²MEND was organized into chapters. Currently there are 37 colleges in the California Community College system, with plans to expanded to 55 in the next year. The director of the Las Positas chapter, Terrance Thompson has been awarded not only director of the year, but under his leadership A²MEND’s chapter of the year as well.

Thompson credits the Las Positas College administration for the success of the program.

“From my dean, my vice president, to the president and to the student equity director, they provide me with the resources and the ability to go out and do the work for A²MEND,” Thompson said.

TERRANCE THOMPSON, who has been working with young people for decades, was honored for his contributions as director of the A²MEND program. (Photo by Justin Gomes/ The Express)

Using his position as Transfer Center Coordinator, Thompson helps make sure participants have an education plan and a major chosen. He gives workshops on financial literacy, scholarships and transfer basics making sure students can get to the next level.

“I like to be a resource. Don’t just look at my title,” Thompson said.

Thompson helps provide not only assistance with educational goals but also help with clothing, food and housing. If a student has a had issues with a class or professor, Thompson can help navigate that situation. Priori to college, the K-12 school system provides mandated services to all students. In college students have to advocate for themselves, Thompson tries to bridge that gap and help students succeed.

The administration is the key to the success of the A²MEND program. There is a shared vision for the future of the program. Serving as an A²MEND board member, President Dyrell Foster has been a key supporter of the A²MEND program and of Thompson’s work on campus. 

“I was so proud and excited to hear that Terrance was being honored as the advisor of the year and that our charter was being honored as the charter of the year! Terrance has been fully committed and dedicated to establishing and maintaining the A²MEND charter at Las Positas College. He works hard on behalf of our students and I was proud that he received the recognition and the celebration that he certainly deserves,” Foster said.

The awards give validation to the program. A²MEND is an important program that will allow Las Positas to continue to support African-American male students and other men of color on campus. 

TOP PHOTO: Terrance Thompson, right, is workingw ith student Netyanya Buenrostro in the Transfer Center. (Photo by Justin Gomes/ The Express)

Justin Gomes is the Editor-in-Chief of The Express. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @JLGPHOTOG.

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