The Center for Community Safety (CCS) at Winston-Salem State University, in collaboration with North Carolina Lions District 31D Lions and the Winston-Salem Twin City Host Lions Club, has received a $10,000 grant from Lions Quest International to expand the “Students Taking Action and Reaching Success” middle school success program, known as the STARS Strategy.
This latest grant will support training activities, curriculum materials and supplies to launch the Lions Quest Out-of-School Time, an evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum, in the STARS afterschool program. The STARS Strategy is a model for middle school success that supports “asset building” among youth and values their strengths at the individual, family and community level. Lessons integrate character, confidence, a sense of caring, competence and connections with peers and adults to promote positive development and success among youth.
In its second year of implementation, STARS now has a total of 700 registered students in programs at Flat Rock, Hanes Magnet, Philo-Hill, East Forsyth and Northwest Middle Schools.
“The Lions Quest Award serves as recognition of the contributions that community partnerships can make in supporting student success in afterschool and out-of-school settings,” said Alvin Atkinson, CCS executive director. “It also validates our decision to support a targeted, evidenced-based youth development strategy in an effort to eliminate need for criminal justice interventions.”
John McKenzie, president of the Winston Salem Twin City Host Lions Club, will lead the creation of a Lions Quest Steering Committee, comprised of Lions and individuals from the STARS’ community coalition that will implement the program. The initial training is planned for February 2014 and the first program will begin in March.
In addition to the $10,000 from Lions Quest International, the STARS strategy is being supported by The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust based in Winston-Salem and members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Community Safety Partners’ Coalition, a community collaborative that includes schools, governmental, health and other community and service-based agencies.
Since its creation in 2001, the Center for Community Safety at WSSU has used scholarship and collaboration as core ingredients to obtain new knowledge, practices and skills to support community change. The STARS Strategy is the latest program stemming from this work and illustrates the importance of interaction and interdependence between WSSU, community partners and individuals to help each other succeed.