ASSETS Project

2006-2010

Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS)

Funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service: Learn and Serve America, Higher Education

ASSETSTransparentLogo

The Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) project advanced and expanded the field of service learning and civic engagement in diverse communities nationwide. ASSETS Sub-grantees focused on Baby Boomers, Disadvantaged Youth, Homeland Security / Disaster Preparedness, and Start-Up Service Learning. This project deepened and expanded the field by:

  • developing an intergenerational approach of service through projects that incorporate baby boomers, K-12, and community college students;
  • promoting academic and civic engagement opportunities for disadvantaged youth by engaging middle and high school students in service learning (SL) projects in their communities;
  • allowing CCNCCE to continue to replicate the work that it began through it’s SAFE grant as the only CNCS H-E grantee to initiate SL/homeland security/domestic preparedness projects in the nation; and
  • continuing to offer training and technical assistance to community colleges throughout the country.

Sub-grantee Projects

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) in Manhattan, NY, developed and implemented a service learning program in financial literacy for its students and community members through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative funded by Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. The BMCC initiative brought together several areas within the college (including the BMCC Office of Academic Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, and the Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development) as well as the Financial Planning Association of New York, several New York City public high schools, and the business community of lower Manhattan. National data show that young people in high school know very little about economics and basic finances. In addition, for college-age students there is a growing trend; they are accruing credit card debt and high student loan balances. To address this concern, BMCC, with assistance from its accounting faculty, the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, and the Financial Planning Association of New York, developed a financial literacy workshop that was offered through the BMCC Office of Student Affairs, which assisted in recruiting BMCC students to enroll in the workshop.

Students learned about such topics as credit, taxes, real estate, budgets, investments, etc. Twenty of them were recruited based on a written essay and their academic performance at BMCC to be Financial Literacy Ambassadors (FLA). Besides participating in the workshop, the FLA was mentored by a member of the business community and participateed in service learning with New York City high school students. The FLA reflected on what they learned in the workshop, which was demonstrated through focus group surveys and reflective pieces written by the students at the end of the workshop.

The service learning proper occured when the FLA shared what they had learned with their high school counterparts. In consultation with the Office of the Superintendent of Manhattan High Schools, BMCC targeted five high schools for participation in the project, whose student profile is similar to that of BMCC’s. The FLA provided service learning to the high school students through individualized and small group advisement supplemented by visits to financial institutions where the high school students saw real applications of what they had learned from the BMCC FLA. Like the ambassadors, the high school students gained an understanding of how to organize budgets, deal with credit in a responsible manner, and save for the future, among other topics. The success of the service learning aspect of the proposal with the high school students was determined by their response to a survey comparable to the one administered to the BMCC FLA.

For further information, please contact Dean Erwin J. Wong by phone at 212.220.8322 or by email (ewong@bmcc.cuny.edu).

Delgado Community College

Delgado Community College (DCC) in New Orleans, LA, aided by funding from Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement through the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) grant, engaged its students in service learning projects with a primary focus of aiding in the recovery and rebuilding of the post-Katrina New Orleans metropolitan region.
These service learning experiences involved students from many academic disciplines, such as English, Psychology, the Humanities and Horticulture, working in conjunction with several non-profit agencies including Habitat for Humanity, Family Services of Greater New Orleans, St. Tammany Youth Service Bureau, Bring Back New Orleans Commission, and various schools and/or school districts. Students applied knowledge from their academic disciplines to provide informational assistance to families and workers, tutoring for students and landscaping services for rebuilding schools, public areas and replacement houses built by non-profit organizations.

View pictures of Delgado Community College’s ASSETS projects [PDF]

For more information on this service learning initiative, please contact the grant program director, Warren Puneky, Jr., at 504-915-8012 or wpunek@dcc.edu.

GateWay Community College

GateWay Community College (GWCC) in Phoenix, AZ, developed and implemented a service learning program for its students and community members through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative funded by Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. GateWay Community College (GWCC) is an urban campus located in the industrial, economically depressed south-central area of Phoenix. GWCC’s diverse student population comes from a wide variety of social, economic, ethnic, and demographic backgrounds. Nearly one-third of its 7,800 students are both low-income and first-generation, who face considerable challenges associated with their family’s limited success with formal education. Minority students make up 51 % of the college. Service-learning is an important strategy for connecting disadvantaged, re-careering boomers with opportunities in the workplace and the nonprofit sector. Service-learning opportunities can give boomers who are enrolled in a community college class or workshop the opportunity to transition their skills to appropriately support the nonprofit environment. Boomers had the opportunity to augment and reframe their existing skills while doing service learning.
GWCC used classes in Geographic Information Systems to develop a community map that identified hot zones of need in surrounding neighborhoods. Boomers enrolled at GWCC were referred to the Workforce Transition Center to determine their skills, career interests and values as they related to community service choices. Once assessed, boomers were connected to a school or community agency, from the community map hot zone, with an identified need for assistance in one of 3 areas: education, social work and health care. Social Work classes connected with boomers interested in organizational management, social policy, and economic development.

GWCC’s bilingual nursing served minorities needing healthcare education, and boomers with backgrounds in math and science assisted the needs of low achieving math and science students in K-12.

View pictures of GateWay Community College’s ASSETS projects [PDF]

For more information please contact Martha Bergin at 602-286-8747 or via email at martha.bergin@gwmail.maricopa.edu

Kingsborough Community Collage

Kingsborough Community College (KCC) in Brooklyn, NY, developed and implemented a service learning program for its students and community members through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative funded by Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. In an effort to enrich the academic, career and civic growth of Kingsborough students, an innovative Early Career Exploration Program grounded in the philosophy of Service-learning was launched. The Department of Behavioral Sciences, through its Associate Degree programs in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Mental Health and Human Services (MHHS) and the Center for Career, Transfer and Scholarship Services, collaborated in an effort to foster career exploration and to tie career development to the concept of social responsibility by participating in the Accent in Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) project. The ASSETS project, enthusiastically supported by Kingsborough President Regina Peruggi and led by Brian Mitra, along with Dr. Peter Fiume and Professor Susan Ednie, and Ms. Genea Stewart, provided opportunities for students in the Early Childhood Education and Mental Health and Human Services programs to reach out to the community through a partnership that was developed with the New York City Housing Authority. Kingsborough students participating in the program had the opportunity to gain insight and experience in their chosen career field as well as use their skills to help others.
In its inaugural semester, the program was be offered in one Early Childhood Education course and one Mental Health and Human Services course and paved the way for future early career exploration Service-learning initiatives. The project served as a vehicle through which career students can become active participants in service-related projects or activities that aim to respond to the needs of the community. The program built upon the close relationships that KCC has established with many service organizations in Brooklyn. Through these relationships, a formal model of community involvement harnessed service-learning’s full potential in the areas of career and citizenship development was established. Structured in a manner that assured effective early career exploration through service-learning experiences, the program further enhanced the academic and career goals of Kingsborough students while addressing compelling community needs.

For additional information, Brian Mitra can be reached at (718) 368-5115 or via email at brian.mitra@kbcc.cuny.edu.

Matanuska-Susitna College (MSC)

Matanuska-Susitna College (MSC), a community campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), located in Palmer, Alaska , with funding support from the Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement through the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) grant, engaged its students in service learning projects with a primary focus of enhancing and expanding the development of local non-profit agencies.
This service learning experience initially involved students from the Small Business Development academic discipline, with the intent of expanding and integrating in to such disciplines as English, Psychology, the Humanities and Horticulture and/or campus clubs such as the Sustainability Committee, Student Government, etc. The Matanuska-Susitna borough was the fastest growing areas of Alaska and was ranked the 34th fastest growing county nation-wide according to the 2000-2007 US census estimates. While this growth has resulted in economic growth, the resultant strain on community services and infrastructure has outpaced the development or reallocation of resources, stretching most non-profit service agencies near their breaking point if not beyond their means. MSC collaborated with the United Way of Mat-Su and local Small Business Development Center to identify non-profits in need of business development expertise and formed additional partnerships with the local school district, community recycling business, trails organizations, etc.

View pictures of Mat-Su College’s ASSETS projects [PDF]

For more information on this service learning initiative, please contact the grant project lead, Karen Backlund, at 907-746-9319 or kbacklund@matsu.alaska.edu.

Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, AZ, developed and implemented a service learning program for its students and community members through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative funded by Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. Mesa Community College, through its REACH Program, promoted community service with disadvantaged high school students. REACH students are High School juniors and seniors concurrently enrolled at MCC. The students earn college credit while completing their high school education.
The goal was to increase high school and college graduation rates by supporting student involvement in the community and encouraging service-learning while students are still in high school. Current enrollment in REACH is over 240 students with disadvantaged students identified by the following criteria:

First generation to attend college
Students who work 10-30 hours
Foster child
Incarcerated family member or lives in temporary housing or teen parent
Physical/mental disabilities
Single parent home, and
Under-represented group.
The Center for Service-Learning worked with REACH students to select sites that developed their civic skills. MCC’s Center for Service Learning has over 200 active community partners. REACH students collaborated with community college students in established service-learning projects on campus such as the Dr. Seuss literary project or the rose garden environmental project. They were active in planning and implementing those events. During their senior year, REACH students were enroll in a 1 credit Service-learning course that required 50 hours of community service. A Service Learning Coach trained REACH students and their parents on the fundamentals of service-learning and civic engagement and was a support system for the participants.

Faculty in the REACH program attended a 4 hour training module on service-learning and civic engagement. Other MCC service learning faculty were recruited as mentors for REACH participants. The Office of Service Learning extended this training opportunity to all faculty in the 10 colleges of the Maricopa Community College District.

View pictures of Mesa Community College’s ASSETS projects [PDF]

For more information, please contact Duane Oakes at 480-461-7214 or via email at duane.oakes@mcmail.maricopa.edu

Milwaukee Area Technical College

Milwaukee Area Tech College (MATC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, further established the on-campus Service Learning Center and initiated several long-term projects through its participation in the Community College National Center for Community Engagement’s Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) grant.
The service learning team focused on establishing service learning guidelines, procedures, and performed a baseline assessment to help institutionalize service learning at MATC. The guidelines were drawn from several institutions across the country and compiled into easy to use packets individually geared towards students, faculty, and community organizations. The guidelines fit easily into newly established procedures for the involved parties to follow when beginning or improving service learning projects. The baseline assessment of faculty who were doing service learning or “service-learning-like” activities identified target instructors for the team to follow-up with and a measure to demonstrate MATC’s growth in the field.

In addition to solidifying MATC’s service learning foundation, the team engaged with faculty, community organizations, and K-12 school districts in two projects that were annual events, the Environmental Survival Challenge and the Walk Against Poverty. During the Environmental Survival Summer Challenge, MATC students helped facilitate service learning projects with middle school students from Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District, Raymond School District, and the Milwaukee Public Schools over 3 weeks in the summer. Students from each school attended several different sites to learn to save energy, retain water and maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem, reduce trash and hazardous waste, and use alternative transportation. Each project site mixed city, suburban and rural schools, providing a diverse learning environment for the MATC students.

According to U.S. Census figures, Milwaukee has the seventh highest poverty rate in the nation. More than one in four residents lives in poverty; over 62,000 of those living in poverty are children and make up 41.3% of all the children in the city.

Milwaukee Area Technical College took action! Partnering with a variety of community organizations, a three-day campaign was hosted to raise awareness of poverty in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. Over 300 service learning students from a variety of courses participated in the second annual “Walk Against Poverty Campaign”. This service learning event model included presentations, demonstrations, art displays, advocacy, education and a march put on by students, instructors, agency organizers and community members, to call attention to various causes, effects and solutions to poverty.

View pictures of Milwaukee Area Technical College’s ASSETS projects [PDF]

For more information, please contact Courtney Marlaire at 414-297-6773 or via email at marlairc@matc.edu.

San Diego City College

San Diego City College (SDCC) is a comprehensive, two-year, public community college offering a wide variety of occupational and academic programs. Established in 1914 as the first community college in San Diego, it is located in urban downtown San Diego, less than 20 miles from the international border with Tijuana, Mexico, the busiest port of entry in the world. SDCC serves a metropolitan area with over 1,500,000 residents. SDCC’s students are ethnically diverse: 31.4% are White, 29.8% are Hispanic, 14.4% are African-American, 7.2% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 4.4% are Filipino, and 1.1% are Native American. 54% of SDCC’s students are female. Approximately 25% are first generation college students, and almost 10% of the students report that English is not the language they use in their home. SDCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and is currently the recipient of a Federal Title V grant to develop programs and strategies to help students be successful and stay in college.
SDCC welcomed the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) grant as a funding source to help it establish a solid footing for a campus Service Learning Program. Since border issues such as immigration, infectious diseases such as HIV and flu pandemics, other aspects of public health, bioterrorism, and water quality have become much more pronounced during this decade in the San Diego- Baja California region, faculty and students at SDCC have recently established a Border Symposium, hosted alternately between San Diego and a community college in Tijuana. Our new Campus Service Learning program provided an excellent way to engage our students with the border issues related to Homeland Security and Domestic Preparedness.

View picture of San Diego City College’s ASSETS project [PDF]

For more information, please contact Cassie Morton at 619-388-3763 or via email at cmorton@sdccd.edu

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative, has developed the Dahiwakud Solar Bathroom Project, funded in part by Learn and Serve America, Arizona Community Foundation, and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. They partnered with Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) in Sells, AZ, which covers 2.8 million acres in rural and remote areas of Arizona. There are hundreds of homes on the Tohono O’odham Nation that do not have indoor plumbing, or the existing plumbing is not working properly due to septic system failure or being off the electrical grid. Dr. John Duffy (Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Coordinator for the Solar Engineering Graduate Program and Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell) and some of his graduate students provided training and technical assistance to TOCC students who were enrolled in the TOCC Apprenticeship Program. Dr. Duffy and his students, in collaboration with TOCC faculty and students, designed appropriate systems which were then installed by the TOCC students. By building the bathrooms as solar units, they not only provided the necessary electricity to run the various components within the bathroom units, but also provided electricity to other parts of the home. In addition to designing bathroom units to house solar panels, UMass-Lowell students also designed systems for collecting water, solar operated coolers, and water pumps to bring up well water.

View picture of San Diego City College’s ASSETS project [PDF]

For more information, please contact John Duffy at 978-934-2968 or via email at john_duffy@uml.edu

Turtle Mountain Community College

Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) in Belcourt, ND, developed and implemented a service learning program for its students and community members, through its participation in the Accent on Student Success: Engaged Together in Service (ASSETS) initiative funded by Learn and Serve America and the Community College National Center for Community Engagement. Turtle Mountain Community College focused on the problem of diabetes on the reservation and in the surrounding area for the college’s interdisciplinary service learning program.
Type 2 diabetes is a widespread problem that directly or indirectly affects everyone on the reservation. While many adults are diabetic or are at risk of becoming diabetic, the problem is also affecting children. In the fall of 2005 when the Tribal Diabetes Program screened children in kindergarten through eighth grade in the schools on and around the reservation, they found that 57% of the children are at increased risk of becoming diabetic. TMCC’s service learning/community engagement project worked with area schools and other community partners, including the Reservation Diabetes Program, the 5 + 5 Coalition, the Rolette County Wellness Coalition, the Reservation Wellness Coalition, and Boys and Girls Club, to improve the health of the community by increasing awareness of the problems associate with diabetes and ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease or of having complications related to it. This was done through numerous activities that utilized the knowledge and skills relevant to the particular courses students were taking in a variety of disciplines.

For more information please contact Peggy Johnson at 701-477-7817 or via email at pjohnson@tm.edu.

This material was based upon work supported by the Community College National Center for Community Engagement through grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service under Learn and Serve America Grant No. 06LHHAZ001 and the Arizona Community Foundation, Grant No. 20091738 . Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Community College National Center for Community Engagement, the Arizona Community Foundation, the Corporation, or the Learn and Serve America Program.