Millersville University has received AmeriCorps PACC VISTA funding for the third year in a row. The money will allow MU to continue the VISTA Project Cygnet during the 2015-2016 school year.
VISTA is part of AmeriCorps, the federal volunteer service program designed to fight poverty in America. Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC), a coalition of member institutions in the Commonwealth, administers the program. The VISTA Project has been a part of Millersville University’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM) since 2013 and it is designed to build and strengthen partnerships between the University, the School District of Lancaster, and community partner organizations. Millersville students, who mentor, tutor and instruct children in after-school programs, support Project Cygnet’s mission to alleviate poverty by increasing children’s academic achievement.
“We’re delighted to receive the funding and to continue our outreach to the Lancaster community,” said Melissa Wardwell, director of Experiential Learning & Career Management at Millersville.
Project Cygnet partners with SWAN, The Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Brightside Opportunities Center, The Mix at Arbor Place, Wheatland Middle School and Attollo. The focus of the project is to “provide academic enrichment opportunities and mentoring to children grades K-12, to improve the educational outcomes of K-12 students in order to help break the cycle of poverty,” said Wardwell.
In the 2013-2014 school year, over 200 school children received tutoring and mentoring services as a result of the first year of this program. According to the school district’s data, 83% of the participating school students tested proficient and/or improved in core subject areas and 92% showed an increase in academic engagement. More than 80 Millersville students volunteered nearly 3,000 hours of service in the project.
Millersville students are encouraged to join in the project to help fight poverty in America. They can participate by providing children tutoring, homework help, and academic enrichment services and running recreational activities with children through sports, art, music, dance, cosmetology, computer classes, robotics, etc.
Project Cygnet is actively recruiting for a new AmeriCorps PACC VISTA Project Coordinator for the 2015-2016 school year. For more information on the position, contact Melissa Wardwell, firstname.lastname@example.org. To become part of Project Cygnet as a student volunteer, please contact A.J. Ortiz, ELCM.Vista@millersville.edu.