Cleveland, Oh–John Carroll University has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. A majority of JCU students participate in some form of community service each year. In 2009, more than 2,000 of the University’s students engaged in nearly 34,000 hours of service learning.
“At John Carroll, we teach our students to be men and women for others, which is central to our mission,” said John Carroll University President, Robert L. Niehoff, S.J. He added, “Earning the distinction of being named to the President’s Honor Roll for a third time is something for which our entire campus community can be proud.” The award recognition program was launched in 2006.
Dr. Margaret Finucane is the director of John Carroll’s Center for Service and Social Action. The Center is dedicated to meeting real community needs through outreach efforts and has developed or guided many successful projects. Among the JCU programs recognized by the Honor Roll this year are:
CHAMPS (Character, Honor, Achievement, Motivation, and Partnership = Success) – This grant-funded enrichment program is designed to serve the needs of at-risk elementary and middle school students in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district. CHAMPS seeks to work with the “whole child,” and the program provides targeted, after-school instruction in reading, math, social skills, and the arts.
Fatima Family Center Thanksgiving Food Drive – Fatima Family Center is located in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, a community where nearly 40% of the families live below the poverty line. Each year, John Carroll students organize and sponsor a 5K run to raise money for the University’s “Thanksgiving Food Drive” for Fatima families.
Hope of Tomorrow – The University partners with the Cleveland Scholarship Program and John Marshall High School. JCU students are paired with high school students who have similar interests. The mentoring relationship offers high school students the opportunity to visit campus and explore their educational aspirations in a supportive environment.
Labre Project – The Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Project is a completely student-led program that offers companionship to homeless residents of Cleveland. Every Friday evening, about 20 JCU students gather on campus to pray before making sandwiches and organizing clothing donations for their homeless friends. The students spend the evening visiting with the homeless on the streets and under the bridges downtown.
Ohio Access Initiative (OAI) – John Carroll’s commitment to social justice and providing access to higher education is exemplified through the Ohio Access Initiative. Academically qualified students from lower income families receive substantial tuition coverage. OAI students make a commitment to participate in weekly community service opportunities, organized by the University.
We, the People – JCU Students enrolled in the Leadership and Social Justice Learning Community class partner with Cleveland area 5th graders to teach the United States Constitution. JCU students visit the 5th grade classrooms on a weekly basis to help the children learn more about the United States Constitution, its history, and their rights and responsibilities as citizens. The project culminates in a Mock Congressional Hearing held on the campus of John Carroll University.