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Oakland, CA–December 17, 2007. Reaching out to fill the needs of three Oakland middle schools, Mills College student-athletes spent a memorable day painting hallways, installing bulletin boards, and cleaning out and organizing a library. They made a difference for these neighborhood schools and received national recognition with the 2007 Josten's/National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) Community Service Award.

Mills earned top community service honors in a highly competitive field of more than 400 NCAA Division III eligible institutions. The award recognizes the contributions Division III student-athletes make to their campuses and local communities. This is the fourth consecutive year in which Mills has received a Josten's/NADIIIAA community service award.

The school principals at ROOTS International Academy, Havenscourt Middle School, and Coliseum College Prep Academy talked about how the Mills projects were valuable in building pride among their middle school students and in encouraging Havenscourt children to have aspirations of one day pursuing a college education. The principals spoke of the importance of making their schools feel like a safe place for learning.

Responding to those needs, Mills student-athletes vigorously engaged in the September 10, 2006 project entitled "Hand in Hand We Can All Make a Difference." Through this process, the Mills College Cyclones strengthened their ties to the broader Oakland community. Student-athletes continued to work with the Havenscourt Middle Schools for the rest of the year to paint a wall mural depicting flags with the names of colleges and universities.

Eighty students participated in the daylong event with 15 staff members of the Mills Athletics Department.

The project included:

  • removing old desks, painting wall trim, and installing new furniture at ROOTS International Academy;
  • painting hallways and installing new curtains and a couch in the teacher's lounge at Havenscourt Middle School;
  • painting, weeding and cleaning projects at Coliseum College Prep Academy; and
  • removing outdated books, cleaning, installing new furniture, and reorganizing shelves and computer stations in the long unused library for all three schools.

"Having gone to an under-funded urban middle school, I really appreciate the addition of even the slightest bit of color or energy, or something even more tangible-a library," said Sonya Rifkin, first-year Mills student."

"We're proud that we provide learning opportunities to Mills student-athletes which help them realize that they truly can make a difference in the world," said Themy Adachi, APER Director. "This project was a great opportunity for Mills student-athletes to see tangible results from their efforts by creating enhanced learning environments for more than 200 Oakland middle school students."

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, on 135 lush acres, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering innovative degree programs to approximately 900 undergraduate women and 500 graduate women and men. Ranked one of the the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report and one of the Best 366 Colleges by the Princeton Review, Mills provides a dynamic liberal arts education fostering women's leadership, social responsibility, and creativity.

Deborah Dallinger
Communications Consultant

Last Updated: 12/18/07