Clayton State University’s Department of Campus Life’s AmeriCorps grant was recently re-funded for the 2010/2011 academic year in the amount of $181, 589 by the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism Board. AmeriCorps is a national service program designed to connect Americans in intense civic engagement to meet the targeted critical needs of a community.
Clayton State was originally funded in 2009 for a three-year grant cycle in the amount of $156,881 for each year. Clayton State is one of only two new programs funded in 2009, and one of three universities in Georgia receiving this federally-funded grant through the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism.
Natasha L. Hutson, project director (Locust Grove), and assistant director of Campus Life Courtney Watson (Lithonia), AmeriCorps program assistant, are enthusiastic about the future of AmeriCorps at the University.
“The grant allows us to engage committed students in intense community service and activism,” Hutson says. “We selected 25 students during our inaugural year that completed more than 15,000 service hours by way of tutoring high school students at Jonesboro and Morrow High Schools and volunteering in over 20 projects in Clayton and surrounding counties.
“The grant also allows us to offer a modest stipend to the AmeriCorps members as well as an education award scholarship at the completion of the term for their dedication and commitment to community service and activism.”
Hutson admits that there have been some challenges.
“As a new program, it was challenging gaining visibility and support from the community, but we have been able to establish great working relationships with organizations in the community,” Hutson says. “We have also introduced our members to leadership development opportunities, including CPR/First Aid and Disaster Preparedness and Response.”
The AmeriCorps program has assisted more than 250 students with standard coursework in Math, Science and Language Arts, including assisting them with success on the Georgia High School Graduation Test, Hutson says.
“Clayton State University students really got things done with their high school students, with majority of them showing increase in their test scores, passing portions of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, or improving their attitude towards school and education,” she adds.