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With nearly $63,000 in federal stimulus aid, the Swearer Center for Public Service is planning to hire 20 new employees this year, including tutors, mentors and community  liaisons.

Though the stimulus money will only last one year, officials at the center said they hope to use the funds to expand several programs in the Providence schools.

"The programs aren't necessarily going to be radically different from what we've been doing," said Roger Nozaki MAT '89, director of the Swearer Center. "But now we can hopefully enlarge their effect."

The grant is the only one Brown has received from the Corporation for National Community Service, according to Tim Leshan, director of government relations and community affairs.

"Most of (the stimulus funding) is for scientific research," Leshan said. "Not much of it is around community service, so this is pretty unique." The University has received nearly 70 awards from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation for scientific research, he added.

Nozaki said the Swearer Center's involvement with the National College Advising Corps, an organization that helps students from low-income communities and under-performing schools go to college, enabled it to apply for funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The advising corps, which works in 11 high schools in urban areas in Rhode Island, is led by full-time, paid "college guides," usually recent graduates of either Brown or the University of Rhode Island, and part-time "access scholars" who lead SAT workshops and other academic programs. Brown students also volunteer as teachers' assistants or help run after-school programs.

Nozaki, who is also an associate dean of the College, said the money will pay for efforts in the city, including 10 new positions at Hope High School, four new positions for the Parent Involvement Program and six new positions at D'Abate Elementary School in Downtown Providence.

About 20 paid Brown students already facilitate similar programs at Providence's Hope High School through the center, such as the Brown SAT/College Prep, the College Guidance Project, Algebra in Motion, Brown Science Prep and the Rhode Island Urban Debate League.

The Swearer Center's Parent Involvement Program currently consists of four paid Brown students who reach out to parents and advocate the schools' agendas through events and conferences, according to center associate director Kate Trimble, who is directly managing the federal grant.

Trimble called the program a "grassroots organization effort" to enhance parent's participation in their children's academic lives.

Similarly, the University is looking to expand its involvement in before- and after-school programs at D'Abate Elementary School. Nozaki said this is the first time he is aware of that Brown is working so closely with a local school.

According to Principal Brent Kermen, half of these programs are facilitated by Brown students, who also ran six-week-long classes this past summer for almost 200 students at the elementary school.

Brown sees "us in need and they step forward to fill that void for us," Kermen said. "And they always look to do more."


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