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 SRU Receives $344,000 Grant to Support Community-Service Work 

 

SPOTLIGHT

Sept. 21, 2005

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4854; gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu

SRU RECEIVES $334,800 GRANT TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY-SERVICE WORK

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s AmeriCorps Program received a $334,800 state grant today [Sept. 21] to provide money for students and local residents to serve at 15 schools and social-service organizations, including Habitat for Humanity.

SRU’s program, launched in 1997, received $285,000 last year. AmeriCorps is a federally funded program operated through PennSERVE: The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service. Those 18 or older serve for one year improving their communities and receive a living allowance and an educational award.

The grant provides AmeriCorps positions for 26 SRU students and 33 local residents, who will serve at the I CARE House in New Castle, the Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Advocacy Center and several schools and organizations. They coordinate after-school programs in Lawrence County schools, host parenting workshops, feed senior citizens and recruit volunteers.

“The president [Dr. Robert Smith] has said many times that our students need to be civic-minded citizens who solve problems in the world,” said SRU’s Alice Kaiser-Drobney, director of AmeriCorps and a political science faculty member. “We want students and community members to become part of the solution to the challenges faced in our communities.”

“The need for Pennsylvanians to agree to volunteer and serve is greater than ever before. While we are responding in great ways to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we know that every day our services are needed,” said Karen Kaskey, executive director of PennSERVE: The Governor's Office of Citizen Service, who delivered the grant.

Where they work

SRU student members design and deliver after-school programs in the Slippery Rock Area School District. They tutor at the I CARE House in New Castle, which serves children and their families as a community center. They plan SRU’s annual Empty Bowls fund-raiser against hunger and help organize CareBreaks, an alternative spring break and weekend program that takes SRU students to others states, including the Gulf Coast where they complete a week of service.

Other students and residents will serve at the Disabilities Network, Lawrence County Penn State Cooperative Extension, Wilmington Middle School, Lawrence County Vocational-Technical School, Lawrence County Social Services, Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity, Lawrence County Family Connections and Lawrence County Communities that Care.

“AmeriCorps is one way for people to get engaged, and these two programs are fine examples of what happens when people choose to volunteer for an entire year,” Kaskey said. “We offer hope and encouragement to people who have lost hope.”

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