Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program Selects Service Organizations, Receives Major Gift

Support from Santander Will Help Fund Year of National or International Service for Students Starting in 2015
October 7, 2014

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Kalimah Redd Knight

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service today announced milestones in its new 1+4 Bridge-Year Service  Learning Program, including the domestic and international locations where the first students in this pre-college program will  serve starting next fall, and funding from Santander Bank, N.A., through its Santander Universities Division. Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco and Santander US president and CEO Roman Blanco will officially sign an agreement for a gift both organizations describe as "significant" at  noon today on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus.

All students who are accepted for undergraduate admission to Tufts for the fall of 2015 who are U.S. citizens will be eligible to apply to Tufts 1+4, which will enable them to engage in full-time national or international service before beginning their traditional college experience.

"Young people today are hungry for opportunities to make a difference, and there is increased interest among students in undertaking service before entering college," said Alan D. Solomont, Omidyar Dean of Tisch College. "With the generosity of supporters such as Santander, we are able to democratize the bridge year by providing access for students who traditionally would not have been able to consider such an experience."

The service organizations named today are located in Arizona, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well as Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and Spain. They were selected after a comprehensive evaluation including in-person visits to each site. Criteria included quality of the service experience, strengths of relationships between the communities and the organizations and potential student interest. Reciprocity, - ensuring that student engagement would truly have a positive impact on the work -- was also a critical priority in site selection.

The program will begin with up to 50 Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Fellows with three to seven students at each site. The program is expected to grow over time.  Fellows may have the opportunity to participate in a blended writing course incorporating off-site and on-campus learning, which will integrate their service with academics and facilitate reflection upon their experiences. A Tufts 1+4 coordinator will advise students and support their individual and professional growth.

At the beginning and conclusion of their service year, Fellows will come together on campus to learn core skills and reflect on their experiences. Once they matriculate, regular meetings, workshops, academic opportunities, and other events will equip Fellows to build on their service year and become campus leaders.

According to Solomont, former chairman of the bipartisan federal program which oversees AmeriCorps, Tufts is also exploring a potential partnership with AmeriCorps through which domestic Tufts 1+4 placement positions would qualify as AmeriCorps sites.  Two of the current service organizations, City Year and LIFT, are now part of the AmeriCorps network. 

All students accepted for undergraduate admission to Tufts who are U.S. citizens will be invited to apply for the 1+4 Bridge-Year Program. Finalists will be invited to participate in a Skype interview. Applicants will be able to apply for up to three sites and prioritize their preferences.   

In Brazil, for example, they can help Global Citizen Year rescue toucans, parrots and penguins and reintegrate them into their habitats. Through AMIGOS in Nicaragua students may work with an arts education program focused on improving the lives of children with disabilities. Carpe Diem, in Tucson, will enable students to learn from and work alongside Native American and other local leaders in addressing needs of underserved communities facing community health, food education and other issues.  

"It's great to see a top-tier university like Tufts embracing the value of experiential education between high school and college," said Carpe Diem Education Development Director Nick Berger. "We hope the work that these students do in the field will inspire them to dive into four more years of personal growth and exploration."

"We wanted to ensure that all our service sites foster critical thinking, cross-cultural collaboration and a deeper appreciation for civic engagement," said Mindy Nierenberg, senior program director at Tisch College.  "These transformational experiences will provide a crucial opportunity for students' perspectives before they decide on an academic and career path.”

Funding for the Future
The Santander gift announced today expands initial donor support committed when the program launched. Continued program growth will rely on additional gifts. Students with the highest demonstrated financial need will receive full support from Tufts 1+4.

“Tufts’ commitment to active citizenship, access to education and global impact is manifested in the launch of the 1+4 Bridge Year Service Learning Program,” said Santander’s Blanco. “The unique opportunity to apply innovative approaches to local and global challenges during a year-long service engagement will allow students to marry real-world experience with a first-rate education. I am certain that this service year will be transformative for the students and the communities they serve.“

Santander's long-standing relationship with Tufts includes support for the Talloires Network, an international association of 325 institutions in 72 countries committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education.  Tufts is a founding member of the network, and Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco is chairman elect of the network's steering committee.

"Tufts and Santander share a deep commitment to enabling young people to be a force for positive change in the world and our announcement today is further proof of that," said Monaco.  "We are very appreciative of Santander's generosity."

Service Organizations & Sites

Service organizations chosen for Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program are:

·         Amigos de las Américas (Oaxaca, Mexico and Leon, Nicaragua)
AMIGOS facilitates opportunities throughout the Americas for program participants to collaborate with local youth to design and lead community owned projects. Some of the placement sites include:  CAMPO, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Bridge to Community Health), Los Pipitos, MPowering People and Instituto Estatal de Educación Pública de Oaxaca  (IEEPO). Students will be focused on areas as varied as alternative energy, sustainable agriculture and development, public health, child welfare, food justice and security,  STEM education and engineering.

·         Carpe Diem Education (Tucson, AZ)
Carpe Diem offers programs to students focused on community service, language study and authentic cultural exchange. Tufts students will spend their first three months traveling throughout Sovereign nations in the southwestern United States, working alongside and learning from a variety of Native American cultures. The next six months will be spent doing full time service with St. Elizabeth’s Health Center, Border Links and Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Students will be tackling issues including care for underinsured, food education and security, community health, immigration and border issues. 

·         City Year (Detroit, MI and Los Angeles, CA)
City Year is focused on improving public education outcomes for students in low-performing schools across the country.  1+4 participants selected for these two site locations will work closely with school administrators and teachers to address educational disparities in urban schools. By utilizing school data and research-based Early Warning Indicators, their focus will be on supporting student who face the greatest risk of dropping out. 

·         Global Citizen Year  (Santa Catarina, Brazil)
1+4 participants working with Global Citizen Year will be able to select from a variety of placements focused on specific issues including wildlife preservation, biodiversity preservation, environmental sustainability and ecosystems, organic farming, food justice and social entrepreneurship. Some of the placement sites include R3Animals, Dom Organicos, ICOMAcolhida na Colonia and Projecto Baleia Franca.

·         LIFT (Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA)
LIFT is designed to help low-income community members achieve economic stability and well-being. Students selected will work one-on-one with LIFT's Members to collaboratively build strong financial, social, and personal foundations including housing, employment, confidence, and community connections.

·         United Planet  (Madrid, Spain)
United Planet’s programs are designed to be immersive and authentic volunteer experiences that connect people of diverse backgrounds. Students will be working in Fundacion Alicia Koplowitz residences for children whose difficult family situations have necessitated removal from their homes of origin. 1+4 participants will be involved in a range of services including educational support, behavioral health, and mentoring.

·         Village for Arts and Humanities  (Philadelphia, PA)
The Village of the Arts and Humanities is committed to support the voices and aspirations of the community through providing opportunities for self-expression rooted in art and culture. Students working at this site will participate in neighborhood revitalization projects and will be involved in activities such as art and environmental education programs, managing CRED Philly(a local arts magazine), and executing community economic development efforts.

About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoy a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

About the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service
The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service is a national leader in civic education, whose model and research are setting the standard for higher education’s role in civic engagement. Serving every student at Tufts University, Tisch College prepares young people to be lifelong active