ELAC DSP&S Counselor awarded a Certificate of Appreciation
When you step into Counselor Jovany Muñoz’s office in the Department of Diversabilities Support Program & Services (DSP&S) you are greeted by encouraging messages on his walls, and this echoes the outlook on life that he has. One wall has a poster that says, “The past is history, the future is a mystery and the present is a gift,” while another wall is filled with photos of the many different students he has helped.
“I live by a code that the purpose for my existence is to have a positive influence on others,” said Muñoz.
Jovany has had a positive impact of many students since joining ELAC in 2016, but specifically students with disabilities like himself.
“I have a C7 spinal cord injury which is a very high level of disability but because I stayed active through out my life by stretching my legs and going to the gym my disability is not as severe. Only 1 out of every 10 people with my disability can function the way that I do and that makes me feel blessed,” said Muñoz.
Jovany has been a key member in getting students with disabilities the financial help they need while they are at school by getting them into the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) program. Some ELAC students who knew about the work Jovany does were looking for a way for him to get recognized and reached out to the Los Angeles City Council. In December of 2018 he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for his outstanding efforts in helping students with disabilities.
The DOR program is a Federal and State program that provides funding to students with disabilities. It is funded 80% by the federal government and 20% by the state of California. Students who are in the program receive free tuition while they are enrolled in school, and the DOR also provides funding for books, transportation and any equipment they might need while in school.
DSP&S serves over 1,600 ELAC students and 242 of those students are in the program. 197 students were enrolled at ELAC in Fall 2018 semester and the remaining 45 students have already transferred to a UC, CSU or private University. In 2018 there was over $6 million provided towards these ELAC students from the Federal and State governments.
“We are one of the leaders for the DOR program in the nation. Other colleges may have the program in place, but they do not have the same amount of students in the program that we do here at ELAC. We have two full time and five part time disability specialists, so for us to help this many students with disabilities with limited resources speaks to how much hard work our department does,” said Muñoz.
Jovany’s role in helping the students is an important one and he has developed lasting relationships with many students with disabilities at ELAC.
“I select and screen the students to make sure they have the grades for the program since they must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to be selected. I have had 13 students in the last year whose GPA was just above 2.0 and I worked with them to get their grades up and be selected for the DOR program. The DSP&S department is amazing for students with disabilites on campus. We have a computer lab, testing rooms and counselors just for them,” said Muñoz.
To learn more about the California Department of Rehabilitation, please visit their website: http://dor.ca.gov/. The ELAC DSP&S Office is located on the Monterey Park Campus in E1-160, and on the Southgate Campus in SG-124.