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AmeriCorps holds commencement


SALISBURY, MD ------Commencement speaker Norman Conway, member of the Maryland House of Delegates from the 38th District, recently encouraged the 29 2002 graduates of the ShoreCorps/PALS program at Salisbury University to help "America come together and be an even greater community" on the eve of the first anniversary of September 11.

Conway congratulated the SU AmeriCorps graduates for embracing a "working to serve commitment, a pledge that will be integral to building stronger community locally, nationally and globally" at the ceremony in the Guerrieri University Center on the SU campus.

The ShoreCorps/PALS graduation marks the end of the program's seventh year. In its initial year, 16 participants, men and women of an array of ages, ethnicities and educational backgrounds, began mentoring and tutoring area youth at numerous public and non-profit agencies. When it begins its eighth year this fall, some 40 new members will continue that tradition.

During 2001-02, Shore Corps/PALS mentored some 600 at-risk youth including pregnant and parenting teens in area schools, county health departments and family support centers. Site supervisors report some 400 of those youth improved self-esteem and life skills.

PALS members mentored and tutored over 1,700 students. Site supervisors report almost 900 students improved school attendance or academic performance by at least one letter grade by the end of the school year.

Conflict resolution skills were taught to some 850 at-risk youth, with over 160 showing improvement in their behavioral responses to conflict. Nearly 300 at-risk youth were advised about the hazards of drugs, alcohol and smoking.

Other speakers at the graduation ceremony were: Dr. George Whitehead, ShoreCorps/PALS project director; Linda Beall, ShoreCorps/PALS program director; Dr. Ellen Zinner, special assistant to SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach; Lynn Bopp, executive director of the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism; SU Provost David Buchanan; Anita Miller, second-year AmeriCorps member who won the Education and Literacy Award at the annual Governor's Volunteers and Service Awards in 2002; and Vernon Spriggs, second-year Ameri/Corps member who also performed a piano solo.

ShoreCorps/PALS graduates for 2002 are: Carly Banks, Salisbury; Pay Boykin, Snow Hill, MD; Mary Cain, Salisbury; Young Cho, Columbia, MD; Kristen Fisher, Hatfield, PA; Tracy Graham, Setauket, NY; Cindy Green, Easton, MD; Tiana Hay, Landover, MD; Joan Hersey, Salisbury; Dawn Larmore, Delmar, DE; Amy Martin, Sharptown, MD; Arlene MacLennan, Greenbackville, VA; Anita Miller, Princess Anne, MD; Shiela Patrick, Salisbury; Candis Pettuss, Temple Hills, MD; Amy Pfeffer, Owatonna, MN; Ben Polson, Pocomoke, MD; Jill Potter, Atlantic Highlands, NJ; David Reid, Cambridge, MD; Betsy Riggin, Eden, MD; Brian Rutkowski, Wilmington, DE; Dan Rutledge, Salisbury; Christy Sellards, Salisbury; Ellen Skunda, Severn, MD; Phyllis Smith, Fruitland, MD; Vernon Spriggs, Cambridge, MD; Katie Wagurek, Fruitland, MD; Jennifer Yelton, Ocean City, MD; and Clinton Young, Salisbury.

For more information about ShoreCorps/PALs, please contact Beall at 410-543-6137.