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ECU professor Kerry Littlewood, executive director of the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center, said the university sends students from a number of disciplines to help out in the center. ECU has earned a national award  honoring the university's work with the center. (Photo by Jay Clark, East Carolina University)

ECU earns regional Kellogg award for outreach

May 17, 2012

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University is among four universities in the nation to earn a regional award recognizing significant engagement within the community.

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities today announced ECU’s selection as the South region winner of the 2012 Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award, which honors the university’s work with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center in Greenville.

ECU has been engaged with the center since 2007, when a partnership was established between the university, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College and a number of additional community partners.

“We are really proud to be recognized for this vital partnership built on the strengths of this cultural rich community using an intergeneration approach,” said Dr. Kerry Littlewood, executive director of the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center and ECU assistant professor of social work.

The award, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, recognizes four-year public universities that have become deeply involved in their communities.

ECU students and faculty members from social work, nutrition, public health, criminal justice, business and medicine regularly volunteer at the Gorham center. As part of class projects and field placements, about 50 social work students are there each year, Littlewood said.

“It is a site that brings together a lot of different disciplines at ECU to get them involved with the community,” said Littlewood, adding the School of Social Work and College of Human Ecology support daily operations at the center. 

Partners – including ECU interns – work to promote independence and self-sufficiency for Pitt County residents through assistance and education on issues on health services, legal problems, social services, and resume development. Projects aim to enrich living and social conditions, increase economic development and educational opportunities, provide outreach networks and stimulate health awareness.

The center offers youth apprentice, job readiness and tutoring programs, mentorships between elderly women and young pregnant women, and seminars on health, financial wellness and home ownership. A large community garden at the center provides fresh produce and a living lesson for children’s applied math and science programs.
“The Intergenerational Community Center has become a model for engaging university students and faculty in two-way partnerships with the community, so that knowledge is mutually shared to the benefit of all partners,” said Dr. Judy A. Siguaw, dean of ECU’s College of Human Ecology. “This award broadens awareness of the great work occurring at the center and will help garner even more widespread support.” 

More than 16,000 people have visited the center since it opened in the former St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church on West Fifth Street. 

ECU will receive $6,000 for the region award and will move on to compete this fall among four finalists for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, which is given annually by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.    

Winners come from four regions: South, North Central, West and the 1890 university community.

North Carolina A&T State University in partnership with North Carolina State University earned the 1890 university community award for efforts in building a sustainable local food economy while protecting fish and waterways from hog containment facility spills. Miami University and Colorado State were the other regional winners.   


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