Campus: CSU Northridge -- August 08, 2003

CSUN, LAPD, Jeopardy Awarded $375,000 for Anti-Gang Program

Cal State Northridge, in partnership with the Jeopardy Foundation and the Los Angeles Police Department, has been awarded a three-year $375,000 grant for a new anti-gang program.

The money was awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and is part of $40 million in grants being awarded for the 2003-2004 academic year by the corporation's Learn and Serve America program.

CSUN's grant is part of the program's effort to support 2,300 local projects promoting community service efforts by university students that also enhance their academic and civic skills.

"Gang activity and all its heartbreak — in terms of lost lives, lost hope and lost youth — is one of the most serious concerns facing our community today," said Maureen Rubin, director of Northridge's Center for Community-Service Learning, which is overseeing the university's portion of the grant along with CSUN's Department of Sociology. "This grant will give our students the opportunity to help the community's early intervention efforts by tutoring, mentoring and inspiring young people to seek positive alternatives to gang life."

The new program, "University/Community Partnership to Reduce Gang Activity," will create a special service-learning sociology class for 40 work-study students each semester, beginning next spring. Each student will perform 300 hours of service a year at one of the Jeopardy Foundation's after-school program sites. The foundation is a non-profit organization that was originally part of the LAPD. Its after-school programs are aimed at turning kids away from gangs.

In addition to working with Jeopardy, the CSUN students will also attend weekly classes co-taught by sociology professors Patricia O'Donnel-Brummet, Herman DeBose and mentoring specialist Bridget Sampson.

Rubin said the new program hopes to increase the school attendance and grade point averages of at-risk youth while at the same time decreasing negative contact with law enforcement and gang members. In addition to the educational support they will receive from the CSUN students, the young people will have opportunities to engage in community projects and cultural and artistic endeavors.

The new program is part of an early intervention program for at-risk youth coordinated by the San Fernando Valley Coalition on Gangs. The coalition was formed as a community-wide response to escalating gang activity, and includes the Jeopardy Foundation, LAPD, legislators, faith-based organizations, the Los Angeles Unified School District, businesses and community-based organizations.
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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