MU Receives CCF Grant in Support of Literacy Mentorship

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Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. awarded an $8,335 grant to Methodist University for expansion of the Methodist Kids Association at Margaret Willis Elementary School.

Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. awards more than $5 million in grants annually. About 75 percent is from restricted funds. The rest is awarded through the competitive grant application program called “Community Grants.”  The literacy grant is made possible by the Cornelia “Neill” Bullock Wilkins Charitable Endowment Fund of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc.

The Methodist Kids Association began as a community engagement initiative among Hay Street United Methodist Church, Methodist University and Margaret Willis Elementary School to provide mentoring and tutoring for older elementary students. As the program grew in scope and participation, the need to expand the existing program, serving grades third through fifth, to grades K-2 became clear. The expanded program will serve up to 40 Margaret Willis Elementary students each year.

“This partnership among university, community, public school and foundation, is a vibrant model of community engagement. Through a new academic course titled, ‘Community Outreach: Literacy,’ college students learn active listening and literacy-mentoring skills in the classroom and then apply those skills weekly as one-on-one mentors with young elementary students. The experience is transformative for college students, elementary students, volunteers and, consequently, for the greater community,” said Kelli Taylor, director of the Center for Community Engagement at Methodist University.

The new class and expansion began in January 2020, but the project was unfortunately halted temporarily due to COVID-19 restrictions which forced the university and Cumberland County Schools to switch to remote learning.

Methodist University provides transformative educational experiences by integrating a liberal arts foundation and spiritual and moral heritage with innovative student-centered programs to produce successful graduates who are dedicated to achievement and committed to making positive contributions to a global society.