The Corporation for National Service has awarded Columbia's Community Impact a $184,000 grant to organize a consortium of universities to provide educational services to young people and adults in Federal Empowerment Zones, it was announced by President Rupp. Community Impact is a University-wide volunteer service organization that each year matches some 800 students with clients in the communities surrounding Columbia.
More than 300 university students in New York City and Atlanta, Ga., will participate in the National Empowerment Zone Education Success Project by mentoring and tutoring elementary and intermediate school students and by providing adults with high school equivalency courses and classes in English as a second language. The grant also calls for students to post information about successful programs on the World Wide Web, beginning near the end of the year.
President Rupp said: "I am pleased that the Corporation for National Service has recognized the crucial contribution of Community Impact. This project will provide a mechanism by which university service organizations can support each other's efforts to make meaningful contributions to the Empowerment Zone. It will also be an effective means of exchanging information among the Zones, promoting university involvement, and enabling students to have a national voice in discussions involving urban development issues."
According to Sonia Reese, executive director of Community Impact, "This project is premised on the fact that universities have something unique to offer their neighboring communities and that our neighbors have something to teach our students."
In addition to Columbia's Community Impact, the founding members of the consortium are CUNY and Georgia State University. The universities will work with the Zones to support goals of job training for adults and improved education for children, promoting skills they will need to be members of the 21st century workforce. In New York City, two sites--each offering a number of educational services--have already been selected. The Family Academy, West 121st Street, will offer a GED program, Family Literacy Workshops and counseling and tutoring for students in grades one through four. The Graham-Windham Beacon Center, West 133rd Street, will offer a GED program, classes in English as a second language, Family Literacy Workshops and tutoring for students in grades one through nine. Educational programs in the two designated sites should be operating by the end of November.
As part of the National Empowerment Zone Education Success Project, student progress will be measured through a series of pre- and post-Project tests that will determine the impact the program has had on their skill levels in such areas as reading, writing and math.
The Corporation for National Service, created with strong bipartisan support by Congress in 1993, is a public/private/independent sector partnership that administers three national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, the National Senior Service Corps, and Learn and Serve America. The grant to Columbia was funded as a demonstration project by the Corporation for National Service under Learn and Serve America: Higher Education. It will provide positions for 22 AmeriCorps members. Two hundred and seventy-five students are expected to participate on a volunteer basis at one of the project's three sites.
Columbia's Community Impact provides 800 student volunteers for 25 programs operating in the community, including: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Peace Games, the community lunch program and support services for the elderly and people with AIDS.
Columbia University Record -- December 8, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 12