By Jon Haimes and
The AmeriCorps motto is “We Get Things Done” and our GSD AmeriCorps does just that! The main goal of assisting at risk K-8 students to increase their reading and math skills by at least 15% has been accomplished each of the four years our AmeriCorps has existed. Over half of the 2900 students tutored since the beginning have made a 50% gain. The one-on-one and small group tutoring has kept these students on course with their grade level and inspired these students to want to learn!
AmeriCorps has increased the number of after school reading fairs implemented in partnership with the Elizabeth Jones Library. Each program has a theme in which students hear stories, learn information, and participate in activities. The upcoming May 15 program features summer reading topics such as water and sun safety.
AmeriCorps inspires its members! Members learn about the community as they serve at Grenada Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen, Christmas In April, and National Service Days such as Martin Luther King Day and Make A Difference Day. They are encouraged to become more proactive, interested citizens through these projects and through personal development training. Some past members have been named a “Grenada Star Good Neighbor.”
Of the 26 current members, some already have college degrees, but are looking for more direction in their careers. Many are in the process of completing their education degrees and will use the education award to pay for classes. Inez Jackson, Kay Miller, and Katie Wilborn are members over 55 years of age with past education experience who serve because they care about the children. They have proven to be enthusiastic, productive, and exemplary leaders in the program.
AmeriCorps alumni continue to serve the community. LaQuittia Craig, Lois Gaskins, Melinda Goff, Susan Miller, Lenekia Pittman, Dexter Ross, and LaTessa Steele are employed full time by Grenada School District. Ms. Steele works with the Boys & Girls Club. Melody Dale earned a Library Science Degree and works at MS State University Library. Several others work in other school districts. Pamela Hubbard, a past AmeriCorps VISTA at Grenada Adult Education Center, was the original program director. Jon Haimes, a member from the first two years of the program, is the current program director.
The GSD AmeriCorps program is funded by a federal grant through the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) and administered by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) in Jackson.
Though competition is tough, the AmeriCorps staff are hopeful to be informed by late May that they will receive another grant to continue the good work they have done. The 2012-13 program would begin August 1, 2012. Applications are being accepted so that candidates will be ready for interviews in June if funding is approved. To be eligible, one must have passed 48 college credits or passed the ACT Work Keys Test.
Members receive a monthly living allowance totaling $12,100 for the year. If they earn the required 1700 hours of service by end of program year, they receive a $5,550 education award held in trust for up to 7 years. Those over 55 years of age can transfer the education award to a child or grandchild.
Call Jon Haimes at 226-1606 or email him at email@example.com for more information. Being an AmeriCorps member might be the right opportunity for you! If you’re interested, take action!