“We the People” coordinator wins award

November 11th, 2010

Shirley Seaton, John Carroll University’s liaison for community affairs, has been awarded the 2010 Founders Award by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. The award recognizes dedication to law-related education. 

The Founders Award is the highest honor given by OCLRE each year. 

According to Seaton, the board of trustees of OCLRE told her that her “work to develop engaged young children is inspirational.”

Seaton said she was very surprised and humbled when she found out she had won the award.

She said, “Why me? I’m just doing something I like to do.”

Seaton was named recipient of this award as a result of her significant contributions to law-related education, which includes her work as the coordinator for the 11th U.S. District’s “We the People” program. 

“We the People” is a national civic education program that teaches students about the history and philosophy of the Constitution.

Seaton’s interest in law-related education began when she was the principal of a Cleveland elementary school. She was concerned about the negative view many children had of police officers. She found that many children said they would not call the police if there was trouble.

This prompted Seaton to apply for a grant from the Cleveland Foundation to start a law-related education program. This new program eventually linked with “We the People” to help change childrens’ attitudes and behavior towards law enforcement.

“We the People” is now offered as a service learning program at JCU through the Center for Service and Social Action. At JCU, “We the People” involves students tutoring elementary and middle school students from Cleveland and East Cleveland about the U.S. Constitution and citizenship. Today, the program involves 75 JCU students in 13 public and parochial schools in the Cleveland area.

Seaton encourages JCU students to get involved in the “We the People” program as part of the university’s mission of service. She believes this is an extremely interesting and worthwhile program that can benefit JCU students as well as elementary and middle school students in the local area. Students who are interested in this program should contact the Center for Service and Social Action.

Seaton was presented with a trophy at OCLRE’s 20th annual Law and Citizenship Conference at the Holiday Inn in Worthington, Ohio near Columbus on Sept. 27.

Seaton said that her family was very pleased for her and she has placed the trophy proudly in her home.