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Released May 30, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The Mississippi Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), housed at Southern Miss, will be celebrating a successful three-year grant cycle with its cornerstone program, the Lighthouse Partnerships initiative, in Jackson on June 18 and 19.

The Lighthouse Partnership program created partnerships between a K-12 school, a higher education institution and a community/faith-based organization to provide high-quality after-school programs. These programs utilize service learning to enhance educational achievement and promote civic engagement through service projects that benefit the local community.

"The Lighthouse Partnership initiative is a unique approach to empowering communities," said Vickie Nudelman, CCCE outreach and training coordinator. "For example, our higher education consortium of five Lighthouse Partnership sites provided after-school service-learning opportunities to more than 3,000 elementary school students from low-income families. It also engaged more than 1,500 college students in service learning."

Nudelman said that 78 percent of faculty surveyed indicated that service learning improved student learning, and 25 percent of after-school enrollees improved their grade by at least one full letter grade.

"The Lighthouse Partnership program is making a difference in the lives of Mississippi's students," she said. Currently, there are 21 Lighthouse Partnership sites across the state.

The celebration will begin June 18 with a daylong Habitat For Humanity service project at 948 Central St. in Jackson and conclude with a morning celebration party highlighting each program's successes at the Edison Walthall Hotel on June 19.

The CCCE, which can be accessed online at, began in November 2000 to administer the three-year Lighthouse Partnership program through funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service Learn and Serve America initiative, the Mississippi State Department of Education and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.

The program has brought in more than $2.6 million to the CCCE during the past three years. Building on its success with the Lighthouse Partnerships, the CCCE has expanded to administer three additional programs: AmeriCorps*VISTA, Reading Is Fundamental, and Campus Link AmeriCorps. In addition, the CCCE provides service-learning fellowships to teachers and faculty, technical assistance training, and service-learning curriculum certification.

For more information, contact Vicki Nudelman by phone at (601) 266-6913 or by e-mail at


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM