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Grant to support UC students who volunteer in local schools

A pilot grant will allow UC Merced students to earn college money by helping local elementary students learn to read.
A pilot grant will allow UC Merced students to earn college money by helping local elementary students learn to read.

UC Merced students will be able to earn money for college by helping Merced County kids become strong readers thanks to a pilot grant from the AmeriCorps Service Fellowship program.

The grant, announced Monday and administered through California Volunteers, will give $3,000 to each of up to 24 students who provide 900 hours of literacy coaching as part of their 2020-21 academic curriculum.

“Engagement with K-12 schools in our region has been a part of UC Merced’s mission since its inception, and our students have always been at the core of that engagement,” interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom said. “This exciting new program will improve literacy among Valley children, while also giving UC Merced students invaluable experience and lessening their student loan debt. We are proud to be a part of this effort.”

UC Merced students selected for the year-long program will be housed together in a Living Learning Community and take courses together during the 2020-21 academic year, said Vernette Doty, director of the Community Engagement Center.
The program is open to undergraduate students in their second year or above. Applications will be accepted through the Community Engagement Center.

“Knowing that we have such a high percentage of students who come to UC Merced with an intrinsic desire to serve in the community, to be able to connect them with meaningful service, provide some additional funding for their academic endeavors, and engage them with the community, to me, that’s a really exciting opportunity for students,” Doty said.

The UC Merced students will be trained to provide literacy coaching for kindergarten through third-grade students at six Merced County schools: four in Merced; one in Planada; and one in Farmdale.

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