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Mount Union College Awarded Ohio Campus Compact Grant

June 19, 2003

ALLIANCE, Ohio - Mount Union College has been awarded a $2,500 grant by Ohio Campus Compact for an oral history project, "Heroes in Our Midst."

"Heroes in Our Midst," is a cooperative venture with Alliance City Schools, Mount Union College and the Stark County African American Cultural Center and Museum. The project aims to benefit the whole community by recording and celebrating the memories and stories of elders. It will also help bridge the gap between the younger and older generations by having middle school students interact with those who experienced momentous events of the past century -- the Great Depression, the Fight for Civil and Human Rights, and World War II.

The Alliance Middle School will be involved through the Navigators Program and the Builders Club. The Alliance Middle School Navigators Program is a state-funded after-school program designed to help middle school students through academic intervention and enrichment programs, homework assistance, physical activities and special interest clubs. Also involved through Alliance Middle School is the Builders Club, a student service organization affiliated with the Kiwanis Club.

The Stark County African American Cultural Center and Museum (AACCM) is dedicated to collecting, preserving, disseminating and celebrating the legacy, culture and contributions of African-American people in Stark County. The AACCM will benefit from this collaborative project by receiving transcripts and tapes of oral history interviews with participating community elders. Several aspects of the "Heroes in Our Midst" project will be posted on the AACCM web site that is currently being developed, www.aaccm.org. This will include sections of the middle school student's artwork for story quilts, transcripts of interviews and pictures of participants involved in the project.

This project augments a growing effort in the area of service-learning at Mount Union College. Students from Dr. Martin Horning's section of the "Race, Culture and American Society" course and students in Deborah Walker's Middle Education courses in the department of education will participate in the community service aspects of the project, including assisting the middle school students in gathering the oral interviews and with the technological labor associated with posting the students' work on the AACCM web site. Also represented by Mount Union in this project will be Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity. Members of the fraternity will help coordinate the community service activities and field trips accompanying each phase of the project for participating Alliance Middle School and Mount Union students.

Each of the three phases of the project will begin with a lecture/demonstration by a faculty member of Mount Union on the historical event being examined. The students involved will then participate in a service project. During the first phase, the students will visit local nursing homes and spend social time with the residents, discussing their experiences during the Great Depression. During the second phase, the students will do repair work and grounds keeping at the Haines House, a local historical site that was part of the Underground Railroad. During the final phase, the students will produce banners and posters of local war heroes and display them during the Memorial Day parade. The students' work, including tapes, written transcripts of interviews and artwork, will be displayed at Alliance Middle School and Rodman Public Library in addition to appearing on the AACCM web site.

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