Reporters may contact: Janet Ragland
jragland@mail.smu.edu
SMU News and Information
(214) 768-7650

 

May 21, 2001

SMU INTER-COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE PROGRAM TO BE HONORED

DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University's Center for Inter-Community Experience will be recognized at the unveiling of a new work of public art at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 24, at the entrance of Monarch Park, at Fitzhugh Avenue at Monarch Street.

Others being recognized will include the Wilkinson Center Safe Haven program, the Fire House Friends Club, Young Audiences Art Club at J.F. Kennedy Learning Center and the Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas Foster Grandparent Program.

The public art is a ceramic mosaic gateway created by children, senior citizens and community volunteers in East Dallas, under the direction of artist Charlotte Lindsey.

ICE is a nationally recognized academic program through which SMU students combine courses in literature, history, and contemporary national issues with work in multi-ethnic, low-income neighborhoods in East Dallas. The participation of ICE in the mosaic project is meant to recognize the culmination of its partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation, which for the past three years funded ICE with a $300,000 grant from its "Keeping Kids in School" Program.

Under the grant, ICE developed and ran the ICE After-School Academy at Robert E. Lee Elementary in which SMU students worked with "at risk" children five days a week for three-and-a-half hours a day as reading and math tutors, mentors, coaches, and art and dance instructors. Many of these same children live in the neighborhood served by the ICE House, in which four SMU students live. ICE will continue its programming this coming academic year under a grant from The Florence Foundation.

ICE and the Dallas Independent School District also provide a Saturday morning program at the school and an adult education class in which English and computer skills are taught to Spanish-speaking parents and neighbors. In addition, ICE helps staff the Safe Haven program for children at the Wilkinson Center in East Dallas.

This year about 140 SMU students have been involved in the program. Last year SMU students contributed more than 7,000 hours of work in ICE programming. Since the program began in 1990, more than 1,500 SMU students have participated in the ICE program and have helped about 400 children, many of whom have been helped from year to year.

As a result of the commitment of SMU students, the children served have improved academic and social skills, and area neighborhoods have developed a stronger sense of community.

ICE Center Director Bruce Levy said the mentoring and tutoring program that began informally in 1989 by a group of SMU students always has been a student-driven enterprise.

"SMU students are the ones who originally reached out to the community and then asked the university to combine community work with academics," Levy said. "Over the years, as students developed new enrichment activities for neighborhood children, the program has deepened its close ties to the East Dallas neighborhoods it serves. The program seeks to reinforce through these activities the community structures that give a neighborhood common purpose and aspirations, particularly concerning the success of its children."

The ICE Center is part of SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

For more information, contact Levy at (214) 768-2505.


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