Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars

Feature Story

Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars

Homework Completion Program boosts more than grades.

By Samantha Whitehurst '13, Mandee McCullough '04

Jason Rehani
Jason Rehani '21 helps a student with their homework.  | Photo by Susan Allen '09, M.A. '14


It’s no secret that if a student just completed their homework, they would pass all of their classes,” said Atlantic City Chief of Police Henry White. “So, for the students to now have the opportunity to have college students assist them in completing their homework on a nightly basis, they stand a much better chance of being successful in school.”

White, along with Tom Hannon, executive director of the Atlantic City Housing Authority, and Merydawilda Colón, executive director of the Stockton Center for Community Engagement (SCCE), identified a need for after school programs in the city and worked with the SCCE to start the Homework Completion Program at Stanley S. Holmes Village, now in its fifth year.

“The process was one of collaboration from the very beginning,” said Colón of the creation of the program.

Youths participating infographic

The Homework Completion Program at Stanley S. Holmes Village in Atlantic City is a joint effort between the SCCE, the Atlantic City Police Department and the Atlantic City Housing Authority and Urban Development Agency. The program aims to engage children in their schoolwork and offer them a vision into the potential of a post-secondary education. Additionally, the program fosters community relationship building between residents and their police department.

Miles driven infographic

 SCCE student fellows and volunteers work with the children Monday through Thursday afternoons to complete their schoolwork, socialize and get any extra help they need in their academic work.

“[The students] having day-to-day contact with the same people who then take more of an interest in them - beyond the completing homework part - helps to instill confidence in them and builds an appreciation for their abilities as a student and a learner and gives them the opportunity to see what the options are out there,” said Hannon of the resident children who take part in the program.

“It is one thing to know about Stockton University, but it is quite another thing to have people that [the students] know, admire and respect show up every day for them and take an interest in them,” Hannon said. “It becomes part of their world where it may not normally have been a part of their world.”

Instances of students volunteering

Colón works with the Office of Service-Learning to promote volunteer opportunities available through the Center. Many volunteers are recruited through the two offices' websites, and Colón and Service-Learning staff speak in classes to inform students about the Center and its program.

Student fellows serve as leaders for SCCE programs. Fellows are recommended to the Center by faculty or other fellows and must submit their resume and complete an interview process before coming on board. In addition to leading their specific volunteer program, student fellows help collect and analyze data about their program to help best direct the Center’s efforts.

Following the success of the Stanley S. Holmes Village program, additional homework completion programs were set up in Buzby Home Village in Atlantic City, the Pleasantville Public Library - a collaborative effort with the City of Pleasantville and the Pleasantville Police Department - and most recently the Maryland Avenue neighborhood in Atlantic City. The Maryland Avenue program began after requests from the ACPD and Michaels Management to create a fourth program in the neighborhood. Michaels Management and Better Tomorrows partnered with the SCCE to pilot the program in the community room of the Atlantic Marina neighborhood. This year, the program is operating full time with the support of Michaels Management, Better Tomorrows and the ACPD. 

Colón looks to build on the success of these positive partnerships to continue to enhance the community. She sees the next five years as a time to “continue strengthening community partnership relations by listening to them on how to expand and adjusting best practices to best serve the community.”


Established in 2012, the SCCE works to promote the ideals of public service and social responsibility by fostering community-based experiential learning and civic engagement for students, faculty and staff. Programs and initiatives at the SCCE range from naturalization classes for those seeking U.S. citizenship and an English learners’ program to afternoon tea and games with older adults.

The Center also supports faculty, staff, students and community partners who are interested in exploring engagement projects by helping them transform their ideas from concept to reality. Those interested in developing a project are encouraged to reach out to the SCCE to schedule a meeting.

Learn more about the Stockton Center for Community Engagement.