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Innovative "town and gown" partnerships receive high honors from UC Berkeley chancellor
24 September 2001

By Irene Hegarty, Office of Community Relations

Berkeley - Nine of the leading programs that represent partnerships between the University of California, Berkeley, and northern California community groups will be honored at the second annual University/Community Partners Recognition reception on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at UC Berkeley.

Hosted by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl and his wife, Peg Berdahl, this community recognition event will highlight projects in the areas of public health, economic development and revitalization, cultural and educational enrichment, youth literacy services and legal assistance for low-income and disabled individuals.

"In light of the nation's recent tragic events, this celebration takes on an even more significant role. It pays tribute to the kindness of the human spirit and the strength we have as a community to help one another address some of today's most pressing problems," said Chancellor Berdahl.

The projects being honored include broad representation of UC faculty, staff, students and community groups. Added Berdahl, "These partnerships show what can be accomplished when an urban research university like UC Berkeley joins hands with an active community to share our collective resources, talents and imagination."

The 2001 projects being recognized are the following:

o Campus/West Berkeley Neighborhood Partnership. The West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation (WBNDC) has worked collaboratively with a number of UC Berkeley departments to further the economic and community development of West Berkeley. Together, they have made recommendations for improvements, assessed economic development opportunities and community service needs, recommended area plan revisions, and advised on urban design improvements.

o The East Bay Community Law Center. The partnership between Boalt Hall and other campus departments as well as dozens of community organizations and agencies is the largest provider of direct legal services to low-income residents of the East Bay.

o The English Language Development Project. A collaborative effort between the Developmental Teacher Education Program of the Graduate School of Education and Melrose Elementary School in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, the project uses student teachers to assess children's needs and develop appropriate curriculum and teaching strategies. An after-school component helps students who are having difficulty with English proficiency.

o The Interactive University Project. Started in 1996, the Interactive University uses the Internet to make the abundant and unique resources of the Berkeley campus available to K-12 teachers and students. The Interactive University links 25 campus units with over 75 teachers in Oakland and San Francisco schools. The program is developing a growing body of powerful digital learning materials based on UC Berkeley research and content from the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

o Stiles Hall Mentor Programs/Berkeley Scholars to Cal. For 70 years, Stiles Hall has recruited and trained UC students to serve as mentors to low-income youth of color in the community, working with local school districts, the I Have a Dream Foundation in West Oakland, and campus outreach programs. This year, through Berkeley Scholars to Cal, Stiles Hall will target 40 fifth graders and their parents, coordinating a comprehensive program of academic, social, and community support over the next eight years. The goal is to help these students prepare for successful admission to the University of California.

o The Suitcase Clinic. A project initiated and driven by UC Berkeley students, it provides health and medical services to local low-income and homeless residents. The clinic involves medical professionals in the community, local churches, lawyers, homeless service providers and clinics, the School of Optometry, School of Public Health, and the UC Health and Medical Sciences Department.

o UC Berkeley Parents Guide Project. The Center for Community Wellness at the UC School of Public Health has partnered with local parenting groups to develop a "UC Berkeley Parents Guide" and the Spanish language version, "La Guia para Padres," to be distributed to every new parent in California. The guide contains advice to new mothers and fathers, bringing together the traditional wisdom of parents from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds with the technical expertise of the university.

o The Juvenile Hall Literacy Collaborative. The collaborative brings together five community and campus organizations to improve the literacy of incarcerated youth at the Juvenile Court Schools of Alameda County. Through the collaborative, UC students provide one-on-one tutoring at least twice weekly to young men at Camp Wilmont Sweeney.

o The Center for Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS). A partnership of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and state and community groups and agencies works with a coalition of farm workers, educators, journalists, and local government officials to assess the environmental risks of pesticide exposures to the children of low-income, mostly Latino farm workers in the Salinas Valley.

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