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SU student volunteers train to assist Syracuse Say Yes to Education program

October 23, 2008

Susan Feightner
(315) 443-1525

Susan Feightner

The Syracuse Say Yes to Education program held its first training session for more than 80 Syracuse University student volunteers at the Inn Complete on South Campus on Saturday, Oct. 18. The students will assist with an after-school program being launched in the Syracuse City School District in early November.

Say Yes to Education is a national, nonprofit education foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban youth. Say Yes to Education operates chapters in Philadelphia, Hartford, Cambridge and New York City. The Syracuse initiative is unique because it is the first Say Yes chapter to embrace an entire city school district, making it the largest school improvement program of its kind in the nation.

The Syracuse Say Yes to Education after-school program is designed to tap into and cultivate the intellectual gifts and talents of students in grades K-3 through hands-on activities, mentorship opportunities, creative thinking and positive social interaction. The initial pilot will begin in six elementary schools and will continue to expand and serve more city schools and more grade levels as the program develops.

More than 200 SU undergraduate students have volunteered to be part of the program. Additional training sessions will be held throughout the fall.

The training was developed and conducted by Rachael Gazdick, executive director of the Syracuse Say Yes to Education program; Tracy Hogarth-Mosier, assistant director; and Chelsea Cramer, graduate assistant.

"We are thrilled with the number of SU students who have volunteered to work with us," Gazdick says. "By volunteering, our university students and our young people in the Syracuse City School District will have the opportunity to learn and grow from each other. Our goal is to create a community of learners."

Gazdick says the organization still has great need for more student interns across all disciplines to participate in many interest areas. Students interested in finding out more about the program can visit and join the Say Yes to Education Syracuse Chapter; e-mail; or call 443-4260.

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