West VirginiaUniversitys Office of Service Learning, through the WVU Foundation, was recently awarded a $170,000 grant from the Claude W. Benedum Foundation to fund the”After School for All Coalition on Technical Assistance Service Learning”project.

The project will combine the needs of after school programs for various types of technical assistance and the needs of WVU faculty for”hands-on”projects in which students can apply the skills they learn in courses.

Community partners will play a major role in the project. In MonongaliaCounty, various local agencies offering after school and/or summer programming for K-12 students have joined together in a collaborative known asAfter School for All .

Its mission is”to share ideas and resources that enhance affordable and diverse after-school programs for all school-aged youth in MonongaliaCounty.”

Members of the community coalition include: Kaleidoscope Community Learning Center, Morgantown Arts Center, Monongalia County School Board, WVU 4 -H Clubs, The Shack Neighborhood House, United Way Youth United, Rock Forge Neighborhood House, Family Literacy, Parent Educator Resource Center, Smart Moves, Morgantown Fun Factory, PR Solutions, Scotts Run Settlement House, Family Resource Network, Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club, BOPARC , Morgantown Theater Company, The Connecting Link, Visiting Homemakers, Greenspace Coalition, Monongalia County Community Schools, WVU Extension Service, WVU Office of Service Learning Programs, YEAP and the United Way.

WVU faculty and studentshave been engaged in community-based service-learning partnerships for several years, many under the auspices of the Office of Service Learning Programs (OSLP).

These partnerships have coordinated faculty activities on a Kellogg Foundation Grant that was secured through the Provosts Office. Based on participation in previous service learning grant programs and on their development of non-funded course-based service-learning opportunities, WVU faculty members have experience in integrating activities into courses.

All WVU departments and schools can provide areas of expertise to the newly funded program. In the past, these areas have been offered by social work; parks, tourism and recreation; sociology and anthropology; English; psychology; foreign languages; physical education; engineering; and journalism.

Now that funding is secure, After School for All and OSLP are in the process of establishing areas that will need this level of expertise. 

“We believe that this grant will allow WVU students in a wide range of majors to apply their course-based skills to assist local community organizations,”said Jill Kriesky, OSLP director.”Since these after school programs frequently operate on very tight, grant-funded budgets, the help our students can provide in running them more efficiently will be very welcome and that creates a win-win situation for WVU and its community partners.”