Saint Mary's College of California Receives National Award for Distinctive Community Service

For Immediate Release
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Moraga, Calif. - Saint Mary's College of California has been named for the second year in a row to the "President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction" for community service work performed by its students.

In 2006-07, Saint Mary's College students performed nearly 45,000 hours of community service. Forty percent of Saint Mary's undergraduates engaged in volunteer projects, with half of them making at least a semester-long commitment.

Of 528 schools named on the Honor Roll for their community service activities during the 2006-2007 academic year, Saint Mary's College was listed as one of 127 schools recognized for exemplary service as members of the Honor Roll With Distinction.

The Honor Roll recognizes general community service work as well as service in a designated area. The 2007 special focus area was services to youth from disadvantaged circumstances that lower school dropout rates and prepare youth for college.

The following are highlights of Saint Mary's College's civic engagement work that was honored by this award:

• In 2007, 42 Jumpstart Corps members and 83 volunteers from Saint Mary's College invested 6,855 hours in five pre-schools in Oakland, Calif. Jumpstart is a national program in which college students work with low-income, pre-school children and their families.

• The Lasallian Education Opportunity Center, LEO Center, is an outreach center for middle school and high school students in West Oakland-an area of the city fraught with high poverty, high crime and low high school graduation rates. In 2006-2007, Saint Mary's students worked at the LEO Center through service-learning courses, tutoring opportunities, and the Bonner Leader program for a total of 2,364 hours of service. These multiple avenues for engagement created a steady flow of tutors for the LEO Center and ongoing relationships between Saint Mary's students and the adolescents they serve.

• Carnival for Kids is now the largest annual one-day service project at Saint Mary's College and is the culminating event of the De La Salle Week celebration St. John Baptist de La Salle, who championed education of the poor. In spring 2007, the college welcomed 200 children from four local schools who, through games and booths, were asked to consider "what will I be when I grow up?"

• Since January 2006, SMC students have invested more than 10,000 hours in New Orleans helping residents recover from hurricane damage.

"Our students are learning critical lessons in leadership through their community service work," said Brother Ronald Gallagher, president of Saint Mary's College. "They are serving as role models for young people who might not otherwise envision college in their future."

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, the USA Freedom Corps, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

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.

A list of those schools on the Honor Roll with Distinction can be found at: http://www.learnandserve.gov/pdf/2008_honorroll_dist.pdf

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Saint Mary's College, founded in 1863, is a residential learning community in Moraga, California based in the Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts traditions. The college currently enrolls more than 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The Christian Brothers, an international Catholic teaching order, guides the academic growth and spiritual character of the school.