Campus: CSU Northridge -- August 28, 2002

CSUN Students to Spend Semester Working with At-Risk Children

Forty Cal State Northridge students are spending this semester working with low-income children at preschools throughout the San Fernando Valley.

The students, who are all receiving work-study, are part of a new service-learning program at Northridge called “Jumpstart” designed to encourage school success in the children by providing them with college mentors.

The CSUN students are enrolled in two experimental child development classes taught by Senta Green, a nationally recognized child development expert. The courses focus on children, families and community resources.

In addition to their in-class work, the students will earn their work-study awards, a form of financial aid, by serving 300 hours in one of four local children’s sites in the San Fernando Valley serving high-risk populations of preschoolers. Upon completion of their required hours, each student will receive an additional AmeriCorps Education Award of approximately $1,000.

The childcare sites include Volunteers of America: Children’s Services Division, Latin American Civic Association, CSUN Children’s Center and Childcare Resource Center.

“It's so exciting to start a new year with CSUN's participation in a new service-learning project that will help our students build school success with young children struggling in preschool,” said Maureen Rubin, director of CSUN’s Center for Community Service-Learning. “Our students are meeting a great need—making sure that every child in our community enters school prepared to succeed.”

Rubin said Jumpstart's literature states that now, more than ever before in the nation's history, children are entering schools lacking basic school readiness skills—communication, language and literacy and social skills.

She pointed out that a recent study by the Carnegie Foundation said teachers reported that 35 percent of American kindergarten children arrive at school unprepared to learn.

"These statistics are even more alarming for children from low-income families, where over 50 percent of children start first grade up to two years behind their peers in preschool skills," Rubin said. "Since these early inequalities persist and increase with time, a child's performance in preschool is directly linked to success later."

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.

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

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