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Released September 8, 2003

ANNUAL GRANT FUNDS SERVICE-LEARNING FOR
MISSISSIPPI'S HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

HATTIESBURG - The Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) will use a $398,000 annual grant to implement the three-year Mississippi Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) initiative. The MHEC program will address three primary needs: strengthening K-8 and postsecondary civic education; expanding and enhancing K-8 after-school opportunities; and building the service-learning capacity of postsecondary, K-8, and community/faith-based organizations.

The MHEC will utilize the successful Lighthouse Partnership model as the core component of reaching its goals. A Lighthouse Partnership unites a college or university, a K-12 school, and a community-based organization in an effort to provide high-quality after-school and service-learning programming. In addition, there will be "additional resources besides the Lighthouse Partnerships subgrants to help Mississippi's colleges and universities institutionalize service-learning at their institutions," said Vickie Nudelman, outreach and technology coordinator for the MHEC program.

The CCCE is currently accepting proposals until October 1 from Mississippi's higher education institutions to participate in the MHEC program and become a Lighthouse Partnership site. New Lighthouse Partnership sites will be eligible for a $35,000 subgrant, while the existing Lighthouse Partnership sites will be eligible for $15,000 subgrants to support their ongoing programs. Existing Lighthouse Partnerships include Delta State University, Hinds Community College, Jackson State University, The University of Mississippi and The University of Southern Mississippi.

While the CCCE has been using the Lighthouse Partnership model since 2000 through previous Learn and Serve America funding, "the main goal this year is to increase students' understanding of democracy, history, civics, and service among after-school students and college students by enlisting college service-learning course participants as after-school civic mentors/tutors," said Jennifer Brewington, training and partnership development coordinator for the MHEC program.

Service-learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. An evaluation report of the current Lighthouse Partnership program conducted by independent consultant Dr. Robert Shumer stated "most of the students' comments focused on the connections between service-learning and academic content, expressing how the community experience made the concepts in the classroom much more comprehensible."

The MHEC is administered by the Mississippi Center for Community and Civic Engagement, housed at The University of Southern Mississippi, and funded by the Learn and Serve America initiative through the Corporation for National and Community Service. "The center focuses on service-learning, after-school programs, tutoring/mentoring, and civic leadership programs to accomplish our mission of strengthening democratic ideals by fostering sustained partnerships that improve educational opportunities and achievement," explained J.J. Trotta, assistant director for service-learning programs at the CCCE. You can visit www.usm.edu/ccce for more information.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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