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Inside CSU’s America Reads/Viking Corps Program at Davis A&M

Each year, Cleveland State University’s Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) hires and places 80 students in service-learning opportunities. Over the past five years, 30,228 youth and other community members throughout Northeast Ohio have benefitted from the work of these students.

The OCE is housed within the Levin College of Public Affairs and Education at CSU.

For 14 years, with generous grant support provided by the Cleveland Public Library (CPL), Director Anita Ruf-Young and her team have helped to build CSU’s America Reads/Viking Corps programs. Recruiting and placing CSU students in community service-learning positions, children from kindergarten through high school are tutored and mentored, free of cost, within CPL branches.

CSU tutors gain real-world work experience developing soft skills, building their resumes and networks, while earning stipends to defray their educational expenses. Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) students, in turn, gain valuable tutoring help to assist with credit recovery, lifting grade point averages and setting the table for future educational and career endeavors—including college degree pursuits.

In March 2023, the Ohio Campus Compact honored Ruf-Young with their annual David Hoch Memorial Award. In her role, Ruf-Young works with students, faculty, and staff at CSU to encourage citizenship and strong communities by building partnerships within CSU; with public, nonprofit community-based organizations, and with government institutions.

But enough with the writing... let's head over to Davis A&M High School and have a look inside one of Ruf-Young's lauded service learning programs in action!