Polly Peterson


Chemeketa Community College
Polly Peterson
Student Success Coordinator 
High School Programs
AmeriCorps*VISTA

THE POSITION
To serve at-risk youth enrolled in Chemeketa Community College's High School Programs, Polly created support services, both academic and social, to retain and transition young people to college from their secondary education experiences.

HER WORK
In 2011, the public transportation system in Salem, Oregon announced they would no longer be able to fund student bus passes. To support students who rely on free public transportation to attend school, Polly developed a relationship with the city's transportation office to procure bus passes for students in need. Polly encouraged students to earn bus passes by participating in service activities. As a result, students were given an opportunity to access reliable transportation to continue their education at Chemeketa.

THE IMPACT

The bus pass program supports students getting to school and succeeding in school. This is particularly important for low-income students, many of whom rely on public transportation but may be unable to afford bus tickets.

The bus pass program empowered Chemeketa students to earn bus passes and take responsibility for their success in school. Likewise, students who participated in the program were engaged with their local community through volunteer service. Next year, Chemeketa looks forward to continuing this program and measuring its impact on student success and retention.