Friday, March 24, 2023

MSUFCU grant helps students of all ages

March 3, 2010

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, center, reads a Dr. Seuss book to children after school Wednesday at Wexford Montessori Magnet School, 5217 Wexford Road, in Lansing.

Photo by Angeli Wright | The State News

Every week, elementary education freshman Lindsay Schuitema gets a chance to place herself in the shoes of an elementary teacher.

Schuitema helps Lansing students with games and homework, assisting in independent learning and answering questions at Wexford Montessori Magnet School’s after-school program.

A new grant from the MSU Federal Credit Union, or MSUFCU, will help the MSU Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement send 95 more students such as Schuitema into the Greater Lansing community this semester and in the fall by providing something often taken for granted — transportation.

The $20,000 grant, which will cover the cost of renting three university vans for the remainder of 2010, will help the center to reach out in a more effective way to nonprofits throughout Lansing, said center director Karen Casey.

“Partners close to campus tend to get an abundance of volunteers,” Casey said.” The grant will allow us to balance out volunteers and give more equity to where they are placed. We’re spreading the wealth.”

Casey said the center serves more than 370 community partners with the help of MSU volunteers.

Elementary schools, such as Wexford and Willow Elementary School, both in Lansing, will benefit from the transportation grant, Casey said.

“In the past, it was a big challenge to get students to Wexford because of the distance,” Wexford principal Nabila Boctor said. “Having the van is a great solution to our previous problem.”

Casey said partners that are not close to campus, such as Wexford, were lucky to get one or two MSU volunteers each week. With the vans, the center is able to send three or four every day. The vans provide transportation to locations that Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, bus routes do not reach, she said.

MSU students who volunteer for the center often work as math or reading tutors for Lansing elementary and middle school students.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and MSUFCU President Patrick McPharlin traveled with MSU service-learning students to Wexford on Wednesday to promote the continuing partnership between the university and the credit union.

Simon read Dr. Suess’ book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” to students, emphasizing the importance of reading.

She said the service-learning program is important for elementary students.
“I think students provide a way of having somebody a little bit closer to their age that they can identify with,” Simon said.

“We’re all part of a global society that needs to enhance the K-12 experience for students either through what we do more formally with our education programs, but also just to be involved in kids’ lives.”

Schuitema said the service-learning project is a great opportunity for both MSU students and elementary students.

“It’s a good experience because this is what I want to do when I get out of college,” she said. “I like it; it’s beneficial.”

April Clobes, MSUFCU vice president of marketing and e-commerce, said the credit union believes in investing in students and service learning.

“This is important because MSU’s goal is to get as many students involved as possible out in the community,” Clobes said. “Our donation made it possible for students to get out to more locations and get more done.”

Casey said an evaluation process will take place at the end of the fall semester to determine the effectiveness of the grant.

“We are hopeful that the credit union will continue to support this valuable project,” she said. “Our mission is to connect MSU students to the community in ways that are mutually beneficial for both partners and students.”

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Staff writer Alanna Thiede contributed to this report.


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