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Americorps Students Will Boost Local Human Services Efforts

The Summer Americorps Leadership Program Participants

Nonprofit and government agencies in Davidson will benefit this summer from the help of 14 students participating in the Americorps Leaders Program.

The students completed an orientation session last week, and began eight weeks of full-time work on June 5. The program is a community service initiative designed by the college and the Bonner Foundation in partnership with the federal Corporation for National Service. Student participants are trained and supported to work in community agencies that target education and human needs.

Jill Williams, director of the college's community service office, said Davidson's students will be working with agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club, the town's Parks and Recreation Department, the Lake Norman YMCA, the Davidson Housing Coalition, and the Ada Jenkins Community Center. The program provides these agencies with full-time assistance during a time when regular part-time student volunteers are gone, she noted.

Two students, rising junior Cody Ruxton and rising sophomore Isha Ahsan, have created a new educational enrichment program for 15 rising sixth graders, entitled "Leaps and Bounds." Ruxton and Ahsan are funding their initiative through a $10,000 "Sunshine" grant, which will allow them to employ three other non-Americorps students as teachers.

The other Americorps students are joining ongoing community service efforts. Three students will direct a summer literacy program at the Ada Jenkins Community Center for second and third grade students, a program that was founded by Davidson's first group of Americorps students two years ago.

In addition to their individual work with various agencies, Americorps students will undertake a group project to staff the computer lab at Ada Jenkins Center three nights a week, increasing the availability of that facility to the public. Students also meet together once a week to share their experiences and talk about local and national human development issues.

Each student receives an education award of less than $1,000 from the Corporation for National Service, and Davidson College provides them with on-campus housing.

In addition to Ahsan and Ruxton, the students participating are Katie Bond, Adam Brown, Aravind Dileepan, Nicole Foreman, Jenny Hobby, Sherry Leverett, Aaron Lohmeyer, Susan Myers, Jenn Ringsmuth, Britton Shurley, Lucas Spivey, and Trip Young.

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