Campus: CSU Northridge -- August 6, 2004

Work-Study Program Offers CSUN Students Chance to Get Paid for Keeping Kids Out of Gangs

Thanks to a federal grant aimed at keeping at-risk youths from gangs, Cal State Northridge work-study students will have an opportunity to earn school credit and financial aid by serving as tutors and mentors in local after-school programs this coming academic year.

MOSAIC (Mentoring to Overcome Struggles and Inspire Courage), now in its second year, will send 40 CSUN students to work with young people between the ages of seven and 17 in the Los Angeles Police Department's Jeopardy program or at Soledad Enrichment Action, an alternative charter high school for teens on probation or who have been unsuccessful in traditional high school settings.

In addition to their work at the anti-gang program sites, MOSAIC students will enroll in a special three-unit sociology internship class taught by sociology professors Patricia O'Donnell-Brummett, Michael DeCesare and communications studies graduate student Justin Weiss.

"Last year, MOSAIC proved to have a positive impact on many of our community's high risk young people," said Maureen Rubin, director of CSUN's Center for Community Service-Learning, which oversees the grant. "CSUN students helped triple the attendance by troubled youth in the programs and helped double the enrollment in caregiver parenting and family literacy classes. There's no telling what can happen this year."

The work-study students will serve a minimum of 10 hours a week at either Soledad Enrichment Action or Jeopardy sites throughout the San Fernando Valley. They will take part in "study-buddy" programs offering after-school homework help; enrichment activities such as art, music, computer literacy, creative writing and photography; and in programs promoting leadership activities.

Additional Northridge students, majoring in educational psychology, will provide parenting classes and individual counseling to the young people. MOSAIC program coordinator Jennifer Roman said she believes the program, though only in its second year, has already touched many lives.

"Our mentors have not only helped the youths with math, literacy and other homework, they have given them positive role models and people who listen and care," she said. "The grades, attitudes and hopes of the young people they have touched have all demonstrated dramatic increases since our students entered their lives."

MOSAIC is funded for three years at $125,000 per year by the Corporation for National and Community Service's Learn and Serve America program.

Launched in 1998, CSUN's Center for Community-Service Learning aims to inspire, encourage and support students and faculty in their pursuit of academic excellence through involvement in meaningful community service.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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