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Faculty and Staff Can Make a Difference

by Katharine A. Diaz

USC ReadersPlus tutor Kimberly Bonner works with a student at Foshay Learning Center. Bonner is a psychology major in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. USC students provide about 1,000 hours of tutoring each week.

Photo b Claudio Cambon

THIS YEAR’S Good Neighbors Campaign is in full swing, with its sights set on reaching a goal of raising $750,000. Academic units and departments at both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses have geared up for the campaign.

Immediately following the campaign kick-off on Oct. 1, the USC Rossier School of Education, Career and Protective Services, USC Education Opportunity Programs Center and the USC departments of medicine and pathology began implementing strategies to motivate faculty and staff to participate.

These efforts included bringing USC employees up to date on how the money raised supports a variety of community outreach programs through USC Neighborhood Outreach (UNO) grants and the profound impact these programs have on the communities surrounding the university’s two campuses.

Among the many UNO-funded programs supported by the campaign is USC ReadersPlus, an America Reads/America Counts program.

Each year some 250 university work-study students provide one-on-one tutoring in reading and math at schools that are part of the USC Family of Schools. USC tutors help students improve their reading and math skills, teach learning strategies that will last a lifetime and instill in the young students a love of learning.

According to Tina Koneazny, director of USC ReadersPlus, tutors receive extensive training to teach specific concepts in reading and/or math. They also learn what it means to be a good mentor. As a group, these students provide approximately 1,000 hours of tutoring each week.

“Teachers see the tutors as collaborators who give them helpful feedback on each student’s progress,” Koneazny said.

The program also receives federal funds and support from various USC departments and academic units, including the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Financial Aid Office, Rossier School of Education, USC Volunteer Collaborative and the Neighborhood Academic Initiative. The program is administered by the USC Joint Educational Project.

FACULTY AND STAFF might also have been invited to attend the upcoming third annual USC Community Health Fair that will take place at one of the university’s partner schools in Lincoln Heights. The fair, also funded by a UNO grant, brings together HSC departments, schools and student groups – such as the USC School of Pharmacy, USC Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, USC Institute for Preventative Medicine, and USC Student National Medical Association – and local community health organizations to provide free preventative health screenings and information to community residents.

More than 600 people are expected to attend the USC Community Health Fair. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Griffin Avenue Elementary School. located at 2025 Griffin Avenue.

“I believe in the philosophy of the USC Good Neighbors Campaign,” said Jennifer Watson, executive director for development, USC School of Pharmacy. “It gives me the opportunity to practice that philosophy in my work. The programs the campaign supports are hands-on opportunities to see our money in action.”

The USC Good Neighbors Campaign runs through Oct. 31. Donations are tax deductible and USC employees can contribute through lump sum contributions for the year or through monthly payroll deductions.

Contributors can also choose to support the United Way of Greater Los Angeles or a nonprofit agency or program as designated through United Way.

Faculty and Staff Can Make a Difference

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