AmeriCorps October Service Programs
AmeriCorps members attended the State AmeriCorps Launch orientation and formal induction into their year of service in Jackson on October 5.
October is filled with service projects and opportunities for members, students, and community volunteers. You can help AmeriCorps fulfill its busy month of service by participating in any of the upcoming activities.
1) Have A Heart and Fill The Cart – Non-perishable food, dry food, and canned goods items will be collected for the urgent needs of the Grenada Food Pantry. Members will fill grocery carts from each school’s collections at K-8 schools through the month of October. The food drive will culminate on “Make A Difference Day,” Saturday, October 27, which is also this month’s Grenada Food Pantry food distribution day. Any organization or person is encouraged to collect food for the Grenada Food Pantry. The Food Pantry now has refrigeration and freezer capabilities. Contact the food pantry for acceptance of miscellaneous items.
2) Kid’s Care Week October 16-18 - AmeriCorps members will present programs on Exercise, Good Nutrition, and Hygiene for the Boys and Girls Club children from 5 – 6 p.m.
3) AmeriCorps Jr. Volunteers - To encourage youngsters to “have a heart for service,” AmeriCorps began its new recruitment of young volunteers to help at the Grenada Soup Kitchen on Saturday, October 6. There will also be a cleanup project at a Grenada Lake park area on Saturday, Otober 27. For more information go to www.servegrenada.com.
We invite all students, parents, and community members to help AmeriCorps make a difference especially during the month of October These service programs can make a difference in our lives and our community! If you have questions, call Jon Haimes, AmeriCorps Program Director at 226-1606.
Positive Impact of AmeriCorps
By Pamela Hubbard
AmeriCorps Assistant Director
Over the last four years AmeriCorps has made a positive impact by tutoring K- 8th grade students and by service activities in the Grenada Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen, Boys and Girls Club, Christmas in April, and in other community needs. Our AmeriCorps members must meet certain criteria to qualify to join our team. Members must have 48 hours of college credit or pass the ACT Work Keys Test and pass a background check.
An AmeriCorps member is not the same as an assistant teacher, even though they must have the same educational credentials. AmeriCorps members are different from assistant teachers in the service they are required to perform after school and very often on Saturdays. Members can only serve one to two years. AmeriCorps members are not volunteers because they do receive a living allowance and an education award and are not school employees. They are a part of an elite group known as service members as created by the United States Congress.
Our members have varying backgrounds. Two-thirds of our AmeriCorps members already have earned a college degree or some professional certification in social work, psychology, elementary and secondary education, business, paralegal studies, nursing, or emergency medicine. One member has a Masters in Counseling, two members are retired teachers who want to continue helping children, and another member has served as a missionary. Other members are continuing to earn their degrees, some members want a career change, while others want to obtain experience and self-assurance in teaching. Our members have chosen to be AmeriCorps members because they want to motivate children to learn so the children will be able to experience a better life. Members want to become stronger leaders and community members to keep Grenada a good place to live.
The main mission of AmeriCorps members is to tutor those students who need some extra personal time and attention. Filling an important role as personal tutors and mentors, members assist students in reading and math to enable students to stay current with their class level. AmeriCorps members’ main priority is to tutor one- on - one and in small groups. AmeriCorps members have in common an interest in helping the children through tutoring and the community through service projects.
Members must earn at least 1700 service hours during the program year to earn an education award they can use to pay off student loans or continue their education. Members over 55 not continuing their education can transfer their award to children or grandchildren. The service hours include about 250 hours in training and community service in addition to their daily tutoring and school assignments.
One example of AmericCorps service projects is the “Have a Heart and Fill The Cart” canned good and non-perishable food collection during the month of October. AmeriCorps members will bring a grocery cart to each school’s designated collection sites then transport donated items to the Grenada Food Pantry each week. The food collection will culminate on October 27 in time for the Grenada Food Pantry’s distribution and the national service day, Make A Difference Day.
Another AmeriCorps service project initiative is after school reading programs at the Elizabeth Jones Libray on the second Tuesday each month. On Tuesday, October 9, they will present stories on the theme of anti-bullying with the help of the Grenada Exchange Club.
Some AmeriCorps alumni have been hired as teachers and assistant teachers in the Grenada School District or other districts. Several are working other positions in the community. Many have become active community members.
The Grenada School District is proud of and grateful for the AmeriCorps program and its members. Dr. David Daigneault, grant writer Gail Daigneault, the K-8 school principals, Intervention Specialist Carla Rogers and the Intervention Team, and Program Directors Jon Haimes and Pamela Hubbard have all worked and cooperated diligently to keep AmeriCorps a viable program as we enter our fifth year with 29 members. We all feel that the AmeriCorps grant program is one of the best existing federal programs and one that has made a significant impact on our students and community.