April 29, 2009

East Cleveland Partnership for Community and School Engagement Earns Community Outreach Grant

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When the Center for Community Partnerships invited Case Western Reserve University departments and groups seeking charitable funding to apply for its new Community Outreach Program grants, they received dozens of applications. Ten campus affiliates were selected to receive $1,000 each for the 2008-2009 academic year to continue their outreach work in the areas of PreK-12, senior citizens, health, social service, community and economic development, and lifelong learning.

Each of the winning groups will be featured in an ongoing series. Learn more about the East Cleveland Partnership for Community and School Engagement:

With the help of students from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, parents in East Cleveland, Ohio, are getting organized to ensure the safety of their children as they walk past abandoned homes on the way to school.

East Cleveland residents expressed the desire to have more parents regularly involved in the school system. As a result, the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH) made a commitment to East Cleveland. The Mandel School students partnered with NOAH by going door to door asking East Cleveland parents to participate in parent patrols at five elementary schools in the city. The patrols are designed to increase school attendance for students and parental involvement for adults.

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In addition, all first year full-time Mandel School students conducted a survey of all vacant homes and lots in the city, especially in light of the recent foreclosure crisis. Estimates indicate that East Cleveland has the highest foreclosure rate in the state. The students, along with East Cleveland residents from NOAH, surveyed the vacant properties with the goal of developing a long-term plan for how to use future federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. The survey results will help city officials prioritize which buildings should be demolished first, which can be rehabbed, and make the case that the city should receive more funds in the newest stimulus package.

The results of the housing survey will be released this evening during a press briefing that is part of the year-end celebration for the Mandel School-East Cleveland partnership. More than 60 people—including the mayor of East Cleveland, as well as city council members—are expected to attend. The City of East Cleveland, the East Cleveland Public Library and NOAH will receive certificates of appreciation for contributions and support of the parental patrols and housing survey efforts.

The Center for Community Partnerships Community Outreach Grant is paying for background checks for parents involved in the parental patrols and survey expenses, as well as the celebration itself. Mark Chupp, a visiting assistant professor of social work, said the neighborhood-based initiative grew out of a needs assessment conducted by Mandel students last spring. The outreach effort fits well with the social work school's interest in expanding experiential learning opportunities among its students.

"At the core of the community and social development curriculum we teach at the Mandel School is the importance of stepping back and listening to people in the neighborhood tell us what they need, not have us tell them,” Chupp said. “Our students learn that their role is to empower neighborhood residents to bring about the kinds of change the residents want."

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, April 29, 2009 01:04 PM | News Topics: Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, Faculty, Grants, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Research, Staff, Students, features, news

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