The University Record, April 8, 1998

Undergrad students, Detroit residents to help expand youth programs

By Travis Paddock
News and Information Services

U-M undergraduates and Detroit residents are teaming up to expand youth service programs. They will become part of Volunteer Detroit!, directed by the Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program (MNAP) and the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership (MNP). The Partnership has received a Skillman Foundation award of $570,000 over three years to fund the project.

The Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program involves students from seven schools and colleges at the U-M, says Barry Checkoway, director of the Center for Learning through Community Service.

"The Skillman grant recognizes the accomplishments of the MNAP as a unique collaboration of the University and community, and provides the support needed to strengthen this program in the years ahead," says Charlene Turner Johnson, MNP executive director.

Volunteer Detroit! consists of three interrelated features:


Five groups of young people, each comprised of two U-M undergraduates and two Detroit-area residents, will recruit volunteers from schools, churches and community organizations to work in neighborhood-based after-school youth programs. The volunteers they recruit will sustain the youth development project over time. The teams also will help

Undergraduates from local universities and colleges will be recruited to work as interns with participating neighborhood-based organizations. They will provide direct services to youth, as well as assisting the AmeriCorps teams.

Twenty full-time community volunteers, members of the AmeriCorps National Service Program, will provide at least 30 hours of service a week in their community. These community members will be recruited from the neighborhood they serve and will be responsible for developing and sustaining the activity of volunteers as well as assisting the teams.

Volunteer Detroit! participants will undergo extensive training in volunteer recruitment, management and organizational development by MNP and MNAP.

The Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program is a partnership between the U-M and the MNP. Mary Beth Damm, assistant director of the Center for Learning through Community Service, describes MNAP's mission as "supporting programs that assist Detroiters in meeting educational, economic, environmental, public safety and human needs, and developing these programs so that they are not dependent on AmeriCorps."

Over the past three years, the MNAP has placed more than 60 U-M students and 60 community residents in locally based organizations. The program currently involves seven U-M units--Social Work, Public Health, Business, Public Policy, Law, Information, and Architecture and Urban Planning.

The MNP is a coalition of nine community-based organizations from the Detroit area and their partners in government, corporate and university sectors.

For more information or to volunteer for Volunteer Detroit!, call Crystal Bell, (313) 872-3327 or send e-mail to