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Center for Service and Civic Engagement Awarded AmeriCorps Grant

Old Dominion University's Center for Service and Civic Engagement (CSCE) has received a grant from the ADVANCE AmeriCorps Program that will provide educational awards for eight students to work as tutors and mentors in the Norfolk Public Schools during the 2011-12 academic year.

ADVANCE, which stands for AmeriCorps Dedicated to Virginia and North Carolina Children Excelling, is an AmeriCorps education award program created by the North Carolina Campus Compact (NCCC). Through this program, students mentor at-risk K-12 students.

Launched in 2002, North Carolina Campus Compact builds the capacity of colleges and universities to produce civically engaged graduates and to strengthen communities. The Compact state office works to provide resources, training and opportunities to member campuses that they may not be able to pursue individually. NCCC is a member of the national Campus Compact, which has nearly 1,200 presidential members, including ODU's President John Broderick.

"We're excited to finally be affiliated with a national network such as AmeriCorps," said CSCE coordinator Tami Park Farinholt, who applied for the grant. "This is an awesome opportunity for the university and our students."

The grants will provide the students with an educational award of $1,175 upon the completion of 300 hours of service (a minimum of five hours per week of direct contact with mentee(s)). Upperclassmen and graduate students may apply for the positions. The selection process will based on the students' resumes, written essays and interviews. Plans call for the selected students to begin their volunteer work in late September.

It has not been determined yet which Norfolk school or schools ODU will be partnering with as part of the grant, Farinholt said. She also noted that the needs of the school will determine whether the ODU students provide tutoring or mentoring services.

Farinholt will oversee the ADVANCE program at ODU, which will include the training, ongoing support and evaluation of the students who are selected for the program.

"This is an opportunity to have a structured support mechanism for our students who volunteer with Norfolk Public Schools," she said. "In the past, NPS would contact us asking for mentors, and they would do the training."

Farinholt said that students selected for an ADVANCE AmeriCorps grant position who are eligible for the Federal Work Study Program can earn extra money for this service.

"This is a good opportunity for those students who have to work in order to attend school, but who also want to volunteer," she said. "This meets both needs."

In 2010-11, ODU students devoted more than 200,000 hours in volunteer service.

This article was posted on: August 18, 2011

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