MAPSCorps is an asset mapping and enrichment program that tasks students and college mentors with cataloging community assets in the Rocky Mount area while exploring new ways to utilize local resources for community improvement. Primarily done in urban areas such as Chicago and New York City, Rocky Mount is the first rural area to partake in the MAPSCorps program that was founded by the University of Chicago’s Dr. Stacy Lindau.
Field mapper and mentor, Chelsea Wiggins describes the program as follows: “MAPSCorps is a great summer program giving youth and young adults the opportunity to cultivate their minds in many ways, helping them to channel their inner scientist. MAPSCorps also gives the youth a way to give back to their community & keeps them positively engaged over the summer.” MAPSCorps helps youth strengthen their research skills and community. It allows them to create long lasting relationships with mentors and peers and raises their awareness of the community assets available in their own backyard.
MAPSCorps has a variety of benefits for the youth and the communities involved. Through the positive youth development program that is done in combination with the asset mapping activities, youth who participate in the program are exposed to scientific research, data collection, and technology use experience. They receive workforce readiness and public speaking training, as well as participate in workshops that help improve their job retention and communication skills. Youth also have a valuable mentorship experience throughout the summer. Mapper, Ashlyn Ricks, said, “MAPSCorps taught me how to be a servant leader in my community and to work for a cause, not applause.”
Benefits for youth include:
- Exposure to scientific research
- Data collection and technology use experience
- Workforce readiness and job retention skills
- Public speaking and communication skills
- Valuable mentorship
Communities benefit from having MAPSCorps active in their area because they receive up-to-date information on community resources and access to asset data via the MAPSCorps website. Local youth receive employment opportunities through the program and local businesses and community organizations are also promoted during the program.
Benefits for communities include:
- Up-to-date information on community resources
- Public access to asset data via website
- Employment opportunities for local youth
- Promotion of local community organizations and businesses
What is an asset?
MAPSCorps defines an asset as a business or organization that provides goods or services to the public.
MAPSCorps NC will be the first iteration implemented in southeastern United States and in a rural community. Additionally, MAPSCorps NC is an operation of Project GRACE, a long-standing community-based participatory research collaboration between UNC Chapel Hill and community representatives from the Upper Coastal Plain region of North Carolina.
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