High school students work at the La Serna Garden ProjectVision

Drawing on the Quaker tradition of service, the Center for Engagement with Communities (CEC) seeks to promote life-long learning and civic engagement in the belief that individual well-being is tied to the strength of communities.

Who We Are

The CEC is a collaboration between Whittier College and the educational, civic and public service community organizations of the greater Whittier and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Founded on the principle of reciprocity, the CEC is dedicated to deepening the practice of service and the pursuit of programs and activities based on the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge, information and resources.

Our various initiatives develop and strengthen partnerships with individuals and institutions that benefit community organizations and enhance student academic learning. Together, faculty, students and community partners identify and address important needs, encouraging a culture of civic engagement and promoting healthier and more educated communities.

Our Programs Include

  • For-credit service-learning courses, spanning 12 academic departments, involving more than a third of our faculty and a quarter of the student body.

  • Co-curricular programs serving the needs of young people and families, including those from traditionally underserved communities. The Mentor Program, our flagship program, serves students from Whittier Union High School District and El Rancho High School in neighboring Pico Rivera. Off-shoots of the Mentor Program include the Amy Biehl Foundation Human Rights Program for high school students and Artemis STEM program for high school girls.

  • Community partnerships involving direct programmatic and indirect-research projects that expand the capacity of social service community-based organizations in the City of Whittier and surrounding areas.

  • Student interns assisting non-profit organizations through for-credit and zero credit internships throughout academic departments.

  • Community Partner Workshops facilitate the exchange of ideas in order to coordinate and address issues of broad mutual concerns.

For your convenience, our "At-A-Glance" information sheet on the CEC can be downloaded here as well as program information on our co-curricular programs:

Partners of Whittier College's Center for Engagement with Communities