Though the competition was tough, our AmeriCorps Program was informed that they have received a three-year grant to continue the good work. 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. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps supports a broad range of local service programs that engage thousands of Americans in intensive service to meet critical community needs. In addition to AmeriCorps, the Corporation also administers Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. Together these programs engage more than 2 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service each year.
The AmeriCorps initiative has served our students and community, trained members to be future active citizens, and made a positive impact upon our county. Our students’ improvement will have long-range implications for Grenada by impacting the literacy rate, graduation rate, and, therefore, the economic progress of our populace.
The AmeriCorps' national motto is “We Get Things Done” and our GSD AmeriCorps does just that! The main goal of our initiative is assisting at risk K-8 students to increase their reading and/or math skills by at least 15%. 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 also inspires its members! In addition to this service, AmeriCorps members also participate in community events and serve in a wide variety of endeavors.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.” 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. 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.
Of the 29 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. Several members are 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.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. To be eligible to serve as an AmeriCorps member, one must have passed 48 college credits or passed the ACT Work Keys Test.
AmeriCorps alumni continue to serve the community. Some former members work in the Grenada School District with others working in other districts.Gwen Woodson is the current program director and Pamela Hubbard, assistant director and a past AmeriCorps VISTA at Grenada Adult Education Center, was the original program director.