AmeriCorps Alumni

A year of service with Literacy AmeriCorps can be an important part of your career development and a great way to build your resume for future opportunities.

Andy Chiamopoulos, Class of 2010-11

 

Hi! My name is Andy Chiamopoulos and I was a Literacy AmeriCorps member in 2010-2011, where I taught a GED program at Bridges Riviera Beach in the morning and provided reading tutoring to children at the Boys and Girls Club of Riviera Beach in the afternoon. Since completing my service year, I have been studying education policy at Duke University, from which I'll be graduating shortly! After graduation, I'll be working for a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where I'll be helping the federal government improve the quality and efficiency of its services.
 
My experience in AmeriCorps enlightened me to the issues currently faced by children and adults seeking a quality education, particularly those from low-income families, and weighed heavily on my decision to study education policy in graduate school. Not to mention that it helped me get accepted into my program! My service year also reinforced the importance of patience, having compassion, and showing respect to others, which are principles that will guide me over the course of my career.
 

Rondre Ashford, Class of 2011-12

After the completion of my AmeriCorps program with the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, I accepted a position as an Assistant Residence Life Coordinator at Florida International University (FIU). I’m also a full-time graduate student at FIU, studying Higher Education Administration.  Thus far, my experience at FIU has been amazing, and I really enjoy living in Miami. I honestly think that my AmeriCorps experience has helped shape my work ethic and caring attitude towards individuals I interact with.  As an AmeriCorps member, I served as a Graduation Coach at Village Academy. I interacted with students as a mentor and helped motivate students to achieve academic success. The skills I obtained by working as a Graduation Coach, have been transparent in my current job as an Assistant Residence Life Coordinator at FIU.  My entire outlook on life has changed since I served as an AmeriCorps member, for example, I appreciate the little things in life that we take for granted and always make myself available when others are in need. Overall, being a member of Literacy AmeriCorps helped me professionally, and I will never forget the importance of giving back and serving our community. 

Megan Conners, Class of 2009-10

Literacy AmeriCorps led me onto a life path I never could have imagined prior to joining.  During my service year at Glades Family Education in Belle Glade, I discovered my true passion: teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to adult learners. 

Today I am a full-time ESOL teacher at the Adult Education Center in West Palm Beach; I have my ideal job with an incredible community of co-workers.  I accredit much of my good fortune to the abundance of opportunities and support I was given by the AmeriCorps coordinators and members, as well as the amazing connections I was able to make as a result of my volunteer experience.

Every day instead of saying that I “have to go to work,” I now say that I “get to go!”  This sentiment is invaluable to me, and I am so grateful to Literacy AmeriCorps for helping me to realize my passion so that I can continue to share it with others now and in the future.

Bailey Lowenthal, Class of 2009-10

After finishing my year as a Graduation Coach with AmeriCorps I was hired at the school where I completed my service to design and implement a two tiered drop out prevention program. My year of service not only helped me obtain a full time job but it solidified my career aspirations. Working so closely guidance staff allowed me to explore a career option I may have otherwise dismissed. Currently, I am pursing my Masters in School Counseling at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Brandon Light, Class of 2009-10 and 2010-11

I had the privilege of serving two consecutive years with Literacy AmeriCorps Palm Beach County.  During that time I was able to have once in a lifetime experiences that changed my perspective on life.  Tutoring children and teaching adult ESOL was unforgettable.  AmeriCorps also gave me numerous social and career opportunities that I otherwise would not have had.   It helped me to grow my professional network and ultimately secure a job at an amazing non-profit organization.

I am now the Manager of Resource Development at United Way of Palm Beach County and I could not be happier.  It is rewarding to know that the work I do every day is helping to give individuals and families better lives.   I know that I would not be where I am today if I didn’t join Literacy AmeriCorps Palm Beach County!

Dawn Allen

After a rewarding year teaching Adult ESOL in Belle Glade, I moved to Austin, TX.  Thanks to my many experiences with AmeriCorps, I had the chance to get involved with English at Work, a nonprofit organization committed to providing English language instruction to low income employees at the job site.  Our vision is to use language proficiency to build more democratic workplaces and stronger communities.  You can check us out at www.austinenglish.org.

My official title is Lead Teacher, but because we are a new organization and still very small, I've had the opportunity to be involved in a bit of everything - from teaching and designing curriculum, to working with volunteers, participating in strategic planning sessions, writing grant proposals, etc.  After a series of jobs that weren't fulfilling and didn't make me happy, I've finally found a job I love!


Laura Calderon

Laura Calderon, former AmeriCorps member class of 2001 and 2002, is now teaching adult literacy classes at Glades Family Education Program in Belle Glade, Florida.

 

 

 

Mary Fuller

Since becoming an AmeriCorps member, my life has completely changed for the better. Last year I came down from Wisconsin, and was placed at In the Pines North and Village Readers Family Education Program. I had the privilege of working with some wonderful kids and dedicated adults with literacy tutoring and teaching. My perspective on life completely changed and I realized how my life's problems are very small compared to the true challenges of someone without literacy skills. It is something that everyone takes for granted in their daily lives. I also realized that I am only one person, but I am still one person, with much to give back to the world. I am who I am today because of the humbling experiences I've had, the guidance of my Coordinator, and the friends I've made for life.

 

Allison Goff

I made the choice to join Literacy*AmeriCorps just before graduating from Michigan State University. As a graduating senior, I was eagerly looking for an opportunity to apply what I had been studying in school, socially, I was also looking for the opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment and meet new people. After meeting the staff of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County and beginning work at my service site, a charter high school, I knew I was in the right place!

After completing a second year of service, I was hired by my service site to continue teaching the course I developed during my second service year, Intensive Reading. Then, ready for new challenges and armed with a Florida Department of Education Teaching Certificate (earned while I was an AmeriCorps Member), I was hired by the Education Department of the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Now, I am the Education Director and I continue to use the skills I learned as a volunteer to write and implement educational programming and historical interpretation for all ages, collaborate with other cultural organizations both locally and nationally, and manage a staff of professionals and volunteers.


Amanda Lindberg

After my year serving the In the Pines and Even Start programs, I have returned to my original career aspiration of teaching Social Studies. I am currently teaching 8th grade US History at Ramblewood Middle School in Coral Springs, FL. I still visit my wonderful kids and families at my AmeriCorps programs as often as I can, which is never enough. I feel that I learned more than I actually taught during my service year, which has only enhanced my effectiveness as a traditional classroom teacher. I am now able to bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and patience to a whole new population of students. A quick thanks to Kay Larche, Audrey McDonough, and my team, without whom I would not be the teacher or the person I am today. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

 

Amanda Meyers

My AmeriCorps year afforded me the opportunity to network with professionals in my field, throughout the state of Florida.  Due to these opportunities, I was able to sign on with an upcoming project in West Palm Beach (quite quickly after my service year ended).  I was offered an amazing chance to work with a reputable non-profit organization to create, plan, and implement a program designed to help youth who are aging out of the foster care system.  I have been employed with Vita Nova of Renaissance Village for almost two years now.  Our program provides safe affordable housing for former DCF and homeless youth.  The housing aspect is accompanied by a program in which I provide life skills courses for the youth.  We focus on providing a safe and loving atmosphere to help guide our youth into independence. I feel fortunate to be in a line of work that is both rewarding and fulfilling.   


Heather McGough

As you can see in the picture, I am lucky enough to be living in beautiful San Francisco, CA. I am fortunate to be working as the Event Director/Administrative Coordinator for a fantastic organization called City of Dreams. City of Dreams is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth living in our public housing communities by expanding their perspective in life. Go to www.city-of-dreams.org to find out more.

 


Krystie McCarson

After finishing an incredible year of my life serving with AmeriCorps in West Palm Beach, I decided to continue my service in another part of the world.  I didn't know that my search would lead me literally to the other side of the world, but I landed in South Korea and I'm loving it.  Koreans desperately want to learn English and I desperately want to teach them.  EPIK (English Program in Korea) is the program I work for and they place hundreds of native English speakers in public and private schools throughout Korea every year.  I teach middle school and elementary school ESL, and I've also picked up some private tutoring and Adult ESL classes in the evenings.  Life in Korea is great, EPIK provides a fully furnished 'western style' apartment and the people here are extremely friendly and accommodating to foreigners.  Before coming here I didn't speak a single word of Korean and I was able to manage fine because English is such a major part of Korean culture.  Overall, next to AmeriCorps, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I've been able to fully immerse myself in Korean culture and continue reaching and serving people to increase English literacy around the world!


Liz Mishoe

Right out of college I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  I had done some volunteering in the past and enjoyed it so I joined Literacy AmeriCorps and was placed at an adult education center as an ESOL and reading tutor.  There I learned about the needs of our community and I was inspired to make a lifelong commitment to service.  AmeriCorps also helped me discover who I am - my talents and passions - and gave me the confidence and competence to follow my dreams and live the life I have always envisioned for myself.  Since my two years of service (I did it a second year because I loved it so much) I have lived and worked in Spain, Argentina, and Colombia as an English teacher and now I'm back in the States working as a youth advisor for at-risk Latino children in middle and high schools, studying to be a teacher (paying for my classes with my AmeriCorps education award), and constantly planning my next adventure.  In short, life is great!


Hilary Sullivan

Since completing Literacy AmeriCorps in 2005, I have continued to work in the field of literacy. I spent 3 years working in family literacy programs in Washington DC, and just recently relocated to Boston to manage a part time AmeriCorps program focused on developing language and literacy skills in preschoolers. I am the Jumpstart Site Manager at Wheelock College in Boston. I recruit, train, and support 50 freshman and sophomore college students who are paired one to one with a low income preschool child for an academic year to help prepare them to enter Kindergarten. I am extremely fortunate to combine my passion for education with my dedication to national service in my current job. I am grateful to Audrey and the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition for giving me the opportunity to serve and for inspiring and encouraging me on the path that I have chosen. For more information on the Jumpstart program, check out www.jstart.org


Seema Tejura

I am currently a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University pursuing my M.A. as a Reading Specialist. I also work as a Graduate Assistant to coordinate tutoring services for adults and children in the community who are interested in improving their literacy skills. I decided to work towards a Masters degree because I have always loved reading and wanted to help spread this joy to others. I am excited about what I am learning because it will help me evaluate the needs of struggling readers and implement interventions as needed. My service year with Literacy*AmeriCorps opened my eyes to the educational needs that many children and adults face. I would recommend AmeriCorps to anyone who is ready for a rewarding year filled with excitement, challenges, self-growth, and the wonder that comes from teaching a student how to read. A year with AmeriCorps will allow you to experience firsthand the great things that a dedicated and enthusiastic group of individuals can accomplish.


David Zell

Hello, there! My name is David Zell and I completed my Literacy AmeriCorps year in 2006 where I volunteered at EdVenture Charter School in Hypoluxo, FL during the day and at DePorres P.L.A.C.E. in Boynton Beach, FL two evenings a week. AmeriCorps not only expanded my worldview and provided me the opportunity to affect change in a small portion of Palm Beach County's diverse community, but it also primed me for a lifelong career geared towards altruistic and humanitarian causes. Employers, friends and co-workers alike, continue to laud my experience as a Literacy AmeriCorps volunteer, as it has greatly enhanced my employability, increased my professional skill set and provided me with a network of lifetime friends.

I currently live in downtown Raleigh, NC where I work full time on a federal grant for the Governor's Institute - a wonderful, small, private nonprofit on NC State's Centennial Campus . As Program Coordinator for the Homeless Veterans Providers Technical Assistance Center, I assist with the planning, implementation, coordination and evaluation of the project's effort. The VETTAC provides grant writing workshops to community providers throughout the United States interested in establishing transitional housing programs for homeless veterans.

I have recently been admitted to the University of Chapel Hill's School of Social Work Management and Community Practice program, which will prepare me for a leadership career in organization and community development and for social interventions in larger systems. My AmeriCorps experience was an integral factor in my both my decision to become a Social Worker and my acceptance into the program.

Please feel free to contact me at david.zell@gmail.com or 919-302-1738 should you have any questions about my experience with the Literacy AmeriCorps program!