DDP Creating Pathways, Communities
The Dual Degree Program (DDP) at Governors State University isn’t just a community of students from more than 17 community colleges across Chicagoland– it’s a family. No one understand this better than the students who not only participated in the program, but worked as Peer Mentors during their journey to college completion.
Sharita Walker, a double GSU alumna and a current DDP Transfer Specialist formed bonds in the program and still holds those relationships close.
“DDP has always felt like a family. It’s brought us together across majors and the university and has always kept us feeling so close which is how we’ve kept together after the graduation.”
Walker was one of 10 current or former DDP students who recently came together to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons, a Chicago non-profit organization that provides children from birth through age 12 with everyday essentials they need to thrive—at home, school, and play. 2014 GSU alumna Kayla Siam volunteers there and invited her school colleagues to help out when another GSU alumna Ricca Louissaint asked to create a volunteer event for DDP alums.
The group spent the day sorting through clothes and reminiscing about their days at Governors State and DDP and how it influenced their lives. Though DDP graduates are no longer required to plan community outreach, Walker said it’s hard to pass up opportunities to serve.
“As DDP Peer Mentors, we had to organize a community based event once a month and from there we fell in love with the work. Interacting with the community brought us so many chances to promote good will. We really missed the work once we left the role.”
Walker, no longer a mentor, is still enjoys serving others.
“This was an idea that came from Ricca,'' Walker said. "But we did it as a community which is the core belief of DDP. This was just the first of many community events created for alums and we hope to participate in many more and grow our membership.”