Oct 202009
Authors: Lauren Leete

Next spring, CSU professors and students from four departments will partner with The Center for Family Outreach and the District Attorney’s Office to launch a pilot mentoring program, called Campus Corps, for at-risk youth.

Campus Corps is a six-credit course — only for students majoring in human development and family studies, psychology, health and exercise science and Spanish – over two semesters focused on providing an undergraduate service-learning experience while supporting positive development for local at-risk youth.

“(Campus Corps) gives (adolescents) an opportunity to learn and grow as people . (and CSU students are) able to know they have the power to make a difference,” said Jen Krafchick, project director for the initiative.

Campus Corps is the nation’s first mentoring program of its kind, coordinating the efforts of multiple city and university programs, Krafchick said.

Those students interested in applying for the course are encouraged to attend two informational sessions –/today from 8 to 9 p.m. and Thursday from 7 to 8 a.m. –/in the Gifford Building, Room 145.

The adolescents who will be selected for the program range in age from 10 to 18 years old and are first-time offenders referred from The Center for Family Outreach, a city organization. A CSU liaison will then match CSU juniors and seniors accepted into Campus Corps with a youth based on criteria including similar interests.

But Krafchick and Program Creator Shelly Haddock, a professor of marriage and family therapy in Human Development and Family Studies, would like to include more majors as Campus Corps evolves.

“Maybe we would be able to include other majors and help other departments similar to ours at other schools adopt a program similar to this,” Haddock said, adding, “(And) open it up to youth who haven’t gotten in trouble . get more people involved.”

The idea for Campus Corps originated from a conversation between Haddock, Toni Zimmerman, a professor of marriage and family therapy in Human Development and Family Studies, and Laurie Klith, the executive director of The Center for Family Outreach.

“We began to talk about all of the resources we had for children (and) a need for identifying the gap,” Kilth said.

The Corporation for National & Community Service awarded the trio’s idea a $500,000 grant over three years. This money will fund salaries for teachers, supplies, laptops for students and equipment for activities.

The pilot program starting in the spring will only be 3-credits, and there are two lab sections that meet Monday or Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. The credits will be attributed specifically for each major.

This time block includes skill training for the undergraduate students, one-on-one mentoring, group walks with mini scavenger hunts, dinner and community activities.

The community activities are developed by the undergraduate interests and allow youth to sign up for a variety of events including but not limited to Wii sports, dance, yoga and creative writing.

“These activities play on the strengths and assets of the students,” Krafchick said. “You don’t have to get high or drunk to have fun.”

The student application for Campus Corps is available online at http://sites.google.com/a/rams.colostate.edu/campus-corps.

Krafchick and Haddock encourage even those students who aren’t within the specified majors to attend the information sessions to learn of other ways to get involved in the program through acting as a research assistant or teaching assistant.

Staff Writer Lauren Leete can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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