About MEChA Calmecac:
MEChA de UCLA's retention program, MEChA Calmecac, was established in 1989 by and for students, given UCLA's inability to meet the needs of students of color, in particular, Raza students. Since then, MEChA Calmecac has worked to improve the retention rates of Raza students at UCLA through its various components. Currently, the project is composed of four different components: Telpochcalli (academic peer counseling), Calpulli (mentorship), Centro Coatlicue (gender/sexuality counseling and holistic wellness) and Coatequitl (internship). With a 12-student staff and 1-full time staff member, MEChA Calmecac continues to support students in a variety of ways given that navigating UCLA as a student of color can be rather difficult at times. Our philosophies are centered around student empowerment; We believe that "support programs should facilitate the development of educational processes to meet the UNIQUE needs and interests of Chican[x]s and Latin[x]s, hence develop alternative goals to those prescribed by society" (El Plan de Santa Barbara, 1968, p. 32)
MEChA Calmecac currently uses trauma-informed frameworks that intertwine with theories that consider and guide student's experiences with their intersecting identities as factors contributing to their trajectories. With these in mind, our style of counseling is different than that of the school's. We acknowledge that as Raza students we have and continue to experiences some of the troubles of being a student of color at UCLA, however, we use these experiences to relate and help Raza students who are currently navigating their educational trajectory. We also challenge deficit-frameworks and try to incorporate Yosso's (2001) notion of community cultural wealth (CCW) to our sessions and acknowledge and actively utilize the skills, knowledge, resistance that have been passed down to us from our parents, family, ancestors and so forth.