St. Helena Island woman hopes to make a difference in lives of at-risk students

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comOctober 28, 2013 

Davina Najiah Frazier



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Thanks to a nonprofit in Little Rock, Ark., for sharing an update on Davina Najiah Frazier of St. Helena Island.

According to its news release:

Each year, nearly one million students fail to graduate from high school -- one student every 26 seconds.

This coming school year, St. Helena Island resident Davina Frazier will travel to Arkansas to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member at City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock. The organization is an education-focused nonprofit that partners with public schools to help at-risk students stay in school and on track to graduate.

Davina chose to dedicate a year of service to have a positive impact on our nation's dropout crisis after graduating from the University of South Carolina Beaufort this year.

She was selected from a competitive national applicant pool, with nearly 10,000 applications for the 2,650 positions available. All City Year corps members can request their qualified student loans be put into forbearance during their term of service, and upon completion, corps members also receive an education award of $5,550 through AmeriCorps.

As a City Year corps member, Davina will serve as a tutor, mentor and role model, working to improve students' attendance, behavior and course performance in reading and math.

Corps members are the first faces students see in the morning, they work side-by-side with teachers throughout the day, and are there until the last student leaves at night.

Last year, more than 94 percent of the third- through fifth-grade students served by City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock improved literacy scores, and 91 percent of teachers said that corps members had a lasting positive impact on students.

City Year was founded in 1988 to provide full-time, targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. It works in 25 communities across the United States and two international affiliates in London and Johannesburg, South Africa. It teams with AmeriCorps to offer in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after-school programs.

Davina joins the program with a record of public service.

This spring, she was one of 181 college students nationwide to be named a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents -- representing some 6 million students -- who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education, according to its website. Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students' citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.

Davina, a business administration and human services major at USCB, exceeded requirements by putting in 600 hours of internship service.

At the Jasper County Boys and Girls Club, she served in the South Carolina Campus Compact's Healthy Families Project where she helped children improve their nutrition and wellness. She developed and implemented a program called Fit Fridays that included sports activities, dance classes and other exercise opportunities.

Davina also became a certified IRS tax preparer and staffed USCB's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. She also volunteered at Beaufort Elementary School, and was in the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, Gamma Beta Phi, Alpha Gamma Mu, and the Human Service Student Organization.

According to the Campus Compact website: "She lives up to her favorite Mark Twain quote: 'Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.' "

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