What has your AmeriCorps service done for you?
“In my AmeriCorps position, I have had the unique opportunity to take my vague notions about teaching and service and transform them into concrete knowledge and experience. I was interested in teaching ESL prior to joining the English Literacy and Civics Program at American YouthWorks, but I felt unclear about how to get started in that field. True to the AmeriCorps spirit of “getting things done,” I found that the best way to learn how to teach was to simply start teaching. And keep on with it. I have a great feeling of responsibility to my students, to my program, and to myself, and I take pride in the good work that we accomplish together. I see every successful lesson or completed student project as another reminder of how “AmeriCorps Works.”‘
English Literacy and Civics at American YouthWorks
Part of the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas (LCCT) AmeriCorps Team
Lindsay Shytle, Keep Austin Housed, previous NCCC member on her 2 years in service.
My two Americorps experiences have been worlds different. Last year I lived, worked, and hung out with the same small group of people just about all the time. We spent a lot of our time traveling on a bus, so we got to know each other extremely well. This year has been more of a traditional job experience. Last year, for me, was about growing personally, and this year has been about growing professionally.
What does Americorps mean to you?
I think the Americorps pledge says it better than I ever could.
[Editor's Note: The AmeriCorps Pledge says,
The AmeriCorps Pledge
I will get things done for America -
to make our people safer,
smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together
to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy,
I will take action.
Faced with conflict,
I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity,
I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment
with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member,
and I will get things done."]
As the countdown to AmeriCorps Awareness Week begins, we at the AAA Week blog want to share some stories of how #AmeriCorpsWorks. Check out our first one from Jordan Thomas, a Communities In Schools AmeriCorps Member
“It seems cliché to say that my experience with AmeriCorps has changed my life but prior to my year of service I had not thought, even for a moment, that I would be on the path that I’m on now. I stumbled into this position with Communities In Schools and in the short time I’ve been with CIS, I have radically altered my life plan. None of my plans included working in a middle school or working with teenagers. Nor did my future plans include pursuing my Master’s degree in Social Work or working towards setting up a nonprofit in the form of a safe space for disadvantaged youth to focus on art and creativity. I would not be where I am today without my AmeriCorps experience, I would not be as driven and as motivated and as inspired to live a life dedicated towards helping others.”
-Jordan Thomas, Communities In Schools AmeriCorps Member
4-H CAPITAL provides high quality after-school enrichment programs that focus on science, engineering and technology. We provide hands-on learning experiences that not only help youth become successful adults but also reduce risk-taking behaviors that inhibit success. By establishing positive relationships with the youth we serve, 4-H CAPITAL allows our 4-H Club members to acquire science and inquiry-based knowledge and skills, build character, and develop life skills in a fun learning environment that will enable them to become self-directing, productive members of society.
Our AmeriCorps Members are currently serving in over 20 elementary and middle schools in the Austin and Del Valle School Districts. At 17 of our schools this year 4-H Members are growing school gardens with their students. In the fall semester 8 of school campus had a herd of goats that were raised by the 4-H Club on campus. And this spring 2 of our schools are raising chickens. In June all of our students will be learning robotics in summer camp!
For more information and to learn how to apply to one of our 16 full time or 16 half time positions for the 2011 – 2012 school year, please visit us at http://www.4-hcapital.org. For weekly updates on what we’re accomplishing in the schools check out our facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/4hcapital.
The design of the Keep Austin Housed AmeriCorps project is to partner with social service agencies that serve the homeless population in Austin and to augment their case management programs by providing these agencies with AmeriCorps members to enhance their level of service delivery. AmeriCorps members assess for client needs, develop action plans to meet goals, and provide support to work with clients toward achieving their goals. Our project’s AmeriCorps members engage clients in a process that empowers them to obtain and/or maintain permanent affordable housing and improve personal stability through the development of effective life skills. In addition, members educate the community-at-large on issues related to homelessness and access the support of community volunteers and in-kind donations, and financial contributions.
Partner Agencies where members serve their term include: Front Steps, Caritas of Austin, Casa Marianella, Family Eldercare, Foundation for the Homeless, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, LifeWorks, Safe Place, and Trinity Center.
Front Steps Keep Austin Housed AmeriCorps project is currently recruiting individuals interested in serving an 11 month AmeriCorps term to provide intensive mentoring and case management services to adults, families and youth who are experiencing, have formerly experienced, or are at-risk of experiencing homelessness in the Austin, Texas. For more information on Keep Austin Housed, and how to apply, please visit http://www.frontsteps.org/what-we-do/keep-austin-housed.
ACE: A Community for Education is a bilingual AmeriCorps program that has been working hard to improve students’ literacy rates for almost twenty years in Austin through The University of Texas. Our vision is that,
“Every child in Central Texas is a successful reader before third grade, setting them on a path of excellence in school and in life.”
We place extensively trained tutors (AmeriCorps members) in elementary schools around Austin, and now Manor as well! Before they begin tutoring, we educate our tutors in phonemic and phonological awareness and alphabetic principles. They also gain knowledge of how to properly assess and progress monitor the success their students have in literacy. These tutors maintain a daily schedule of at least ten students, ranging from kindergarten to second grade, who are struggling readers. Tutors work hard to implement individualized lessons for each student in order to effectively teach them reading techniques and skills.
Currently, ACE tutors are placed at ten Austin elementary schools and one in Manor. Each school averages a four-tutor team supported by a supervisor that makes weekly visits to ensure each tutor has updated lessons and strategies for improving their students reading levels.
Next year, ACE will be expanding their support to twenty-two schools through out Austin and Manor. We will have over ninety tutors striving to advance students’ reading abilities.
For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.utdanacenter.org/ace/