Campus: NORTHRIDGE -- June 16, 2006

CSUN Awarded $585,000 for Gang Prevention Program

Cal State Northridge has received a three-year $585,000 grant from Learn and Serve America to support a gang prevention program that works with disadvantaged youths throughout the San Fernando Valley. The CSUN program is one of only nine individual higher education programs across the nation, and the only one in California, to receive such funding.

Specifically, the money will go to CSUN's Community Service-Learning Program and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences for MOSAIC (Mentoring to Overcome Struggles and Inspire Courage), a partnership between Cal State Northridge and community intervention programs run by the Los Angeles Police Department's Jeopardy Program, Jack London Continuation High School, Positive Alternatives for Youth and the San Fernando Valley Partnership.

"We are very proud to have received this grant from Learn and Serve America," said Maureen Rubin, director of community service-learning at CSUN's new Center for Innovative and Engaged Learning Opportunities. "It validates the hard work and dedication of students, faculty and staff, and will help us bring our student learning and community service to new heights."

In her congratulatory letter to the MOSAIC program, Learn and Serve America Director Amy B. Cohen wrote, "The overall quality of applications received was outstanding, so your accomplishment was significant." There were 206 applications for a grant.

Learn and Serve America is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also oversees Senior Corps and AmeriCorps. The corporation's mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

Each year, MOSAIC strengthens under-staffed and under-funded after-school programs by providing 35 Cal State Northridge student mentors, who each serve 300 hours per year, and 100 service-learning students, who serve 20 hours each semester. Over the course of the grant's three years, CSUN students will offer 43,500 hours of daily academic tutoring, enrichment activities, counseling, vocational education and life skills to more than 1,000 youth at risk of joining gangs.

MOSAIC coordinator Jennifer Roman said the grant will not only sustain the program, "but will give us an opportunity to expand it to new sites where our mentors can work with troubled youth."

She said MOSAIC already has plans to expand its academic and creative activities to local schools that want to create after-school programs in which college students serve as role models as well as mentors.

MOSAIC began in 2003 with a $375,000 grant from Learn and Serve America. CSUN students have already served more than 40,000 hours with more than 1,000 at-risk youth. It is part of the university's community service-learning program, which was founded in 1997 to advance a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction in the classroom designed to enrich the learning experience and teach civic responsibility as well as strengthen communities.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,

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