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State Farm Youth Advisory Board Grants Miami Dade College Nearly $70,000 for Service-Learning Projects

Miami Dade College is renowned for its service-learning initiatives
Barbara R Carr from State farm, Rebeca Sanchez, Kerr-Anne Parkes, JoshYoung, Gaby Pacheco, Jose Soto from State Farm

Barbara R Carr from State farm, Rebeca Sanchez, Kerr-Anne Parkes, JoshYoung, Gaby Pacheco, Jose Soto from State Farm

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Miami, February 27, 2008 - The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has awarded Miami Dade College (MDC) with a $68,344 service-learning grant.

State Farm is awarding more than $4.8 million dollars in grants this year and MDC is one of 68 organizations across the United States and Canada to receive a service-learning, youth-led grant—and one of only seven in Florida to be chosen. MDC was selected in the “access to higher education/closing the achievement gap” category. The College’s Future Educators of America student organization, School of Education, and Center for Community Involvement will continue two primary projects; development of a multi-layered youth/student-led “Service-Learning Infusion Project” to address issues of access and achievement, and infusion of service-learning into the MDC School of Education and Miami Dade County Public Schools.

Service-learning will continue to be infused throughout the MDC School of Education with the aim of graduating a new generation of teachers who are well versed in the pedagogy of service-learning. High school students will continue to participate in a Student Empowerment Project (STEP). During this important project, one Saturday a month, using a service-learning model, they learn about and address community problems. In addition, professional recertification courses will be offered to current teachers interested in service-learning with the aim of helping infuse this teaching methodology throughout the K-12 system. MDC’s project will continue to empower college students who are preparing to be teachers as well as students from some of the county’s lowest performing high schools to directly address education access issues while creating a new model of teacher preparation.

“We are very pleased and honored by this generous support from State Farm that allows us to continue to expand critical service-learning opportunities for our students and the community,” said Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College. “Service-learning is a cornerstone of the educational experience at Miami Dade.”
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million/year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Board identified the issues, issued competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to site grantees. The focus areas are disaster preparedness, driver safety, higher-education/closing the achievement gap, and financial education.
“State Farm supports service-learning because it emphasizes a hands-on approach that allows students to combine what they learn in the classroom with service to the community. This approach not only helps students master the subject material, but also fosters increased civic responsibility,” said Marcel Blythe, State Farm education spokesperson. “We’re excited to see the results and the positive impact these grants will have on our Florida communities.”

Visit www.statefarmyab.com for more information about the different projects being funded and about the Youth Advisory Board.

About Service-learning: Service-learning is a teaching method which supplements classroom studies with hands-on projects that address pressing community issues and problems. Over the last 10 years, more than 40,000 MDC students have participated in service-learning projects. To learn more about service-learning visit: www.nylc.org, www.ysa.org, www.service-learningpartnership.org and http://www.statefarm.com/about/part_spos/community/ed_excel/servlrng.asp.

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of community involvement through service-learning. Just recently, the college made the President’s Higher Education Service-learning Honor Roll, a national recognition of its extensive community engagement activities – highlighted by the College’s service-learning program that involves more than 200 faculty members and nearly 5,000 students annually with hundreds of community agencies. MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is nationally recognized for many of its academic and cultural programs. With an enrollment of more than 165,000 students, MDC is the nation’s top producer of associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 200 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety management and nursing.

About State Farm: State Farm® insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.6 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.22 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada - statefarm.ca™.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director
MDC Service-Learning contact: Joshua Young (305) 237-7477
State Farm Media Contact: José Soto (305) 458-3935




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