By Erin Moore, Associate Director of Communications, Office of Community Engagement
The recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Community Partner Award is the Muncie’s Youth Opportunity Center.
The Youth Opportunity Center is a residential treatment facility for youth ages 6-18 with complex clinical and behavioral challenges. As part of a three-year research project funded by the National Institute of Justice, the YOC has welcomed faculty members Janay Sander and Ruth Jefferson and their immersive learning students to determine the impact of reading programs on residents’ academic achievement and overall life success after discharge. YOC staff work hand-in-hand with faculty to develop learning and research plans; train students in rapport-building, confidentiality, and safety; and implement reading interventions.
School achievement is a huge concern for this population, but there are many barriers to this research nationwide. The Youth Opportunity Center’s contributions to this project have been substantial. In addition to providing access, YOC staff work hand-in-hand with faculty to develop immersive learning and research plans; train Ball State students in rapport-building, confidentiality, and safety; implement reading interventions; and help run the day-to-day aspects of the project.
Our collaboration with YOC has already led to a number of successes, including meaningful gains in reading skills, rich skill development for Ball State students, co-presentations at several national conferences, and inspiration for continued research collaboration.