Center for Community Service Receives Presidential Award

September 16, 2009

Knox's Center for Community Service brings students faculty and staff together with local grade schools.Knox College has received the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award "with distinction for extraordinary and exemplary community service contributions of its students, faculty, and staff in meeting critical community and national needs." The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Knox College with a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the extraordinary and exemplary community service contributions to America's communities.

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Kathleen Ridlon, director of the center for community service stated, "This is a tremendous accomplishment. Service is a hallmark of a Knox education, and we are privileged to be recognized for this commitment."

Knox has developed a variety of projects which have helped the community. During the 2007-08 academic year, Knox College students contributed more than 8,000 hours of service in the local community and beyond. Some of the projects include:
• Reading Buddy Program with Neilson School: Knox students were matched with a second or third grade student for a school term or a year-long commitment. In 2007-08, 80 Knox students logged 937 hours. Multiplying those hours by the State of Illinois minimum wage, the indirect local economic impact equals $7,496.
• Knox County Boys and Girls Club: Knox students volunteered to serve as mentors to children ages 7-16 in an afterschool program. Last year 27 students logged 744, for a total impact of $5,952.
• Community Preschool Teacher's Aids - Knox students volunteer to serve as teacher's aids in a preschool classroom. The 26 Knox students engaged in the program contributed 389 hours for $3,112.
• Dance Marathon: Eleven organizations on campus collaborated to produce this fundraiser for two local organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Knox County. The event lasted for 12 hours and involved approximately 150 students. It generated $2,000 in revenue.

Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll, says, "In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges... We thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others."

"This office really serves individual students with unique ideas, and that is the core. I am proud of the outstanding service our students provide to their communities on a daily basis. This recognition also affirms the engagement of our faculty and staff who provide leadership and teach our students to connect what they learn in the classroom to everyday life," Ridlon said.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

"College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day - as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others," said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.