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News Release

For immediate use

Dec 2, 2004 -- No. 584


UNC student organizations receive
grants for public service projects

CHAPEL HILL -- Eleven University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student organizations have received grants to fund projects as diverse as mentoring female Hispanic middle school students and creating a lending library at a local homeless shelter.

UNCís Carolina Center for Public Service recently presented the Seagraves Service Grants to support public service projects addressing identifiable needs in North Carolina. The grants program is funded by a UNC alumnus in honor of his grandmother, Mildred Yeager Seagraves.

The donorís $15,000 gift will support the grants program for five years, beginning this year.

"There is a strong culture of service at Carolina," said Amy Gorely, associate director of the center. "The Seagraves Service Grants enable student organizations at UNC-Chapel Hill to transform their service ideas into projects that make a real difference throughout the community and state."

The center received 23 proposals from officially recognized UNC student organizations and chose 11 to receive funding. Grantees receive up to $300 to fund their proposed service projects during the 2004-2005 academic year.

This yearís recipients include the following:

The American Medical Womenís Association is a national organization of women physicians and medical students dedicated to promoting womenís health. The UNC chapter received a grant for its Healthy Choices project, designed to help women in prison (starting with the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women) improve their knowledge regarding issues affecting their physical and emotional well-being.

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization that strives to enrich the lives of people with mental disabilities. The UNC chapter pairs college students with mentally disabled adults in the community, providing friendships and learning experiences for both. The grant supports a trip to the Asheboro Zoo for 40 students and their best buddies.

The Criminal Justice Action and Awareness group works to enhance student awareness of the issues that surround the criminal justice system. Members volunteer at the Durham County Youth Home, a correctional facility for juvenile offenders ages 12 to 17. Funding will be used to create a book club and purchase educational supplies such as journals for creative writing workshops.

Las Guapitas is a group of female UNC students who mentor to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Hispanic girls at McDougle Middle School. For three years, this program has helped promote self-esteem and encourage the pursuit of higher education. Funding will be used for a celebration dinner with the girlsí families and a year-end trip.

The Senior Marshal Service Committee will help underserved elementary-age children in the community develop literacy skills and artistic talents. This project includes an end-of-the-year gathering to celebrate the childrenís achievements and showcase their works of literature and art with their families.

The Special Libraries Association is an organization for information professionals that promotes the learning, advocacy and networking initiatives of its members. The SLA will create a small lending library at Project Homestart, a homeless shelter for women and children in Chapel Hill. The lending library will provide books for shelter residents to read to their children.

The Student Health Action Coalition outreach is a student-run organization that provides free health and social services to residents of local communities. Volunteer pharmacy students will check blood pressures and glucose levels of members of the Lattisville Grove community to identify members at risk for hypertension and diabetes. In addition, pharmacy students will provide counseling sessions, offering therapeutic and lifestyle recommendations.

The Student Poverty Reduction Outreach helps families receive critical governmental benefits that can help lift them out of poverty. Members will set up a volunteer income-tax assistance site at the Hargraves Community Center in Chapel Hillís Northside neighborhood to assist low- to moderate-income residents maximize their tax refund.

The Tuberculosis Awareness Group aims to increase campus awareness of tuberculosis, as well as serve those patients in need. The group will provide 40 care packages of toiletries and other basic necessities to tuberculosis patients in Wake, Mecklenburg and Guilford counties who are undergoing their two-week isolation period for treatment.

Carolina Teen Court Assistance provides trial advocacy training for Orange and Chatham Countiesí Teen Court programs. Teen Court is an alternative sentencing program for youth offenders who have committed minor offenses; high school and middle school students volunteer as lawyers to prosecute and defend their peers. UNC law students will design a curriculum and training manual, as well as hold workshops for student volunteers in each county.

Women in Law is a service organization actively promoting opportunities for women in the legal profession. The group will revise its comprehensive guide to womenís rights under state law, "Women and the Law: A Handbook for North Carolina." The handbook is designed to educate women about their rights in a broad range of areas including social welfare, education, reproductive health, domestic violence, finances, marriage, divorce and employment.

For more information on public service opportunities at UNC, visit http://www.unc.edu/cps.

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Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Dr. Lynn Blanchard, (919) 843-7568

News Services contact: Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415 or deborah_saine@unc.edu