Springfield College Honored for Community Service Efforts



Springfield College was named a finalist for the President’s Award for Community Service by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  The college was one of four finalists in the education category and also was awarded Honor Roll with Distinction status in the category of general community service.  

This nationwide designation is part of the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and recognizes institutions and their students across the country for their commitment to volunteer service.

The award was based on data from the 2012-13 academic year, during which more than 3,500 Springfield College students completed more than 480,000 hours of service to the Springfield community through volunteer work, service-learning, internships, practica, fieldwork, and other activities.

“Students come to Springfield College with a desire to serve and to immerse themselves in academic and co-curricular programs that will allow them to make a difference in their community,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper.  “The college offers a wealth of meaningful service opportunities allowing students to develop as scholars and engaged citizens.  Our students work extremely hard throughout the academic year to be part of our community. This recognition is a reflection of their continued dedication to service.”

The Springfield College AmeriCorps Program and the Partners Program remain two of the College’s constant and long-standing community outreach programs - which combined – are responsible for the contribution of more than 50,000 hours of service.

Springfield College AmeriCorps members provided more than 44,000 hours of service to 479 at-risk students from prekindergarten through grade 12 at Square One, Headstart, and in Springfield Public Schools during the 2012-13 academic year.  As part of the Student Success Corps, now known as the School Turnaround Initiative, AmeriCorps academic coaches and school counselors provided interventions and support for students struggling with low attendance, course failure in English and math, and behavioral/social-emotional issues. AmeriCorps literacy tutors implemented the nationally recognized Minnesota Reading Corps PreK model in an effort to ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn how to read.  This pilot of the Minnesota Reading Corps evolved into the Massachusetts Reading Corps, which is currently providing early literacy support to more than 400 prekindergarten students in Springfield.

“The goal of the AmeriCorps programs at Springfield College is to give students the support they need to remain on the path to high school graduation,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Director Shannon Langone. “Our programs are based on research-driven models and interventions that have been shown to effectively target risk factors for dropping out. By using what we know works in a very intentional way, we can have a measurable impact on the academic achievement of youth in Springfield.”

The AmeriCorps programs at Springfield College are funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success, and the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation.

For more than 20 years, the Springfield College Partners Program has paired college mentors with Springfield Public School students from both the Brookings and DeBerry elementary schools.  Since the program’s inception, more than 600 elementary school students have been mentored. Previous research indicates that youth who participate in the program reported better grades, improved attendance, increased confidence about themselves and the future, and fewer behavioral issues in and out of school.

In total, more than 760 higher education institutions were named to this year’s honor roll. From that group, four schools were selected to receive the President’s Award in one of four categories – general community service, economic opportunity, education, or interfaith community service.  An additional 16 schools are named as finalists for the President’s Award, the highest federal honor a higher education institution can receive for its commitment to community service. A complete list of this year’s winners can be found at www.nationalservice.gov/HonorRoll.

“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Springfield College is inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges, and as a result, more students are likely to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement that achieves meaningful and measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and champions community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News & World Report, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.