Community service

Angelo State Honors Program Wins National Community Service Award

ASU has been selected to receive the National Collegiate Honors Council’s 2022 Community Engagement Award and will be honored at the NCHC Annual Conference.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Angelo State University Honors Program has been selected to receive the National Collegiate Honors Council’s 2022 Community Service Award and will be honored at the NCHC’s annual conference in November in Dallas.

The award was created by the NCHC Student Affairs Committee to recognize student excellence outside of the classroom and to show how special education empowers students to make a difference in their communities.

One service project is chosen each year to receive the award from a national pool of submissions. ASU Honors Program students Sharin Salam of Plano and Carolyn Loper of Temple will accept the award at the NCHC conference.

ASU’s Honors Program won the 2022 award in recognition of its partnership with the Weekly Hands-on Independent Tutoring (WHIT) program in a pilot project to provide free tutoring to children in the system of Tom Green County Foster Care.

Twenty-two students in the specialist program were trained by the WHIT program in identifying and reporting signs of sexual, physical and emotional abuse; appropriate strategies for assessing student learning and progress; and methods to motivate students to engage fully in their studies.

They were then paired with K-12 students in the Tom Green County Child Protective Services system for weekly tutoring sessions.

“We have seen firsthand the difference one person can make in a child’s life and future,” Loper said in an ASU statement.

Weekly tutoring sessions have been designed to help students improve their math, reading and basic science skills. Tutors taught core content, helped with organization, goal setting and prioritization skills, and modeled enthusiasm for learning. Collectively, students in ASU’s honors program contributed more than 485 hours of tutoring during the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters.

“The tutors benefited as much from their involvement as the students they worked with,” said Honors Program Director Dr. Shirley Eoff in the release. “They learned about the issues of neglect and abuse in our community and realized how much others have to fight for things they often take for granted. I noticed an increased empathy and a much deeper appreciation of their good fortune to have stable families, which supported and encouraged their academic and professional ambitions. They grew up as students by teaching others, and as compassionate humans by being exposed to people who struggled against circumstances beyond their control.

Reports from WHIT staff, local educators, foster parents and juvenile justice system judges showed that the program succeeded beyond initial expectations, as all 22 students were able to catch up or exceed the level school during the school year; and many have shown significant improvement in their attitudes toward school and their engagement in curricular and extracurricular affairs.

The success of the pilot project led the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to allow Jennifer Lisson, founder of the WHIT program, to expand the project statewide. The Honors Colleges at Texas Tech University and Texas State University, as well as parts of the Texas A&M University System, are committed to launching tutoring in their respective communities.