by Emily Wurst

Dr. Katy Green of the University of West Georgia’s College of Education (COE) has invested the past three years in the university’s iCARE (Instruction of Children At Risk and with Exceptionalities) program. Throughout this time, the iCARE grant has benefited hundreds of students, both at UWG and in the surrounding communities.

College of Education Cares: How iCARE is Giving Back to the Community
Dr. Katy Green and co-PI Dr. Sandra Robbins

iCARE is a collaboration between COE and YMCA Early Childhood Development Co., LLC Head Start and Early Head Start (YMCA ECDC). YMCA approached Green, assistant professor of literacy and special education, about collaborating with COE. This partnership has since bloomed into the iCARE program.

“The primary aim of iCARE’s work is to build the capacity of teachers and families of children who are at-risk and/or have disabilities,” Green explained. “Moreover, the partnership is mutually beneficial as it allows UWG undergraduate and graduate students to participate in diverse and urban educational opportunities they otherwise would not experience.”

The iCARE project incorporates three main aspects: childhood assessments by COE faculty and students, family education events, and professional development by COE special education faculty. This year, the iCARE grant was expanded from its metro-Atlanta area audience all the way to the northeast Georgia region.

“Throughout the three-year span of the grant, hundreds of UWG COE undergraduate students have experienced multiple and varied opportunities in diverse and urban early childhood settings,” explained Green. “The YMCA ECDC and the UWG iCARE team have seen extensive benefits from the work and strive to continue this partnership for many years to come.”

For Green, her work with the iCARE grant is not just about benefiting her institution or students; it also incorporates her own passions within her career.

“My research interest is in early childhood special education,” said Green. “This grant not only fits perfectly in my research agenda, but also provides excellent diverse opportunities for the students I teach.”

Recently, Green was awarded a grant of nearly $140,000 to continue her work in the iCARE partnership throughout the year of 2017.

“It is an absolute honor to be awarded this grant,” said Green. “The funding agency could have partnered with any university in the surrounding area, and we are honored that they have accepted our grant proposal for the past three years. This grant has funded four graduate students, provided opportunities for undergraduates with diverse experiences, as well as provided College of Education faculty with research and service.”

Posted on April 7, 2017