Literacy AmeriCorps

LITERACY AMERICORPS PALM BEACH COUNTY

   
The Literacy AmeriCorps program recruits recent college graduates from across the United States to spend a year tutoring and teaching in Palm Beach County. The Literacy AmeriCorps program has grown and thrived since 1998, when we began with 10 AmeriCorps members. We are currently a state AmeriCorps program with support from Volunteer Florida, The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Our 40 AmeriCorps members who come from 20 different states are serving at 56 sites including libraries, family literacy programs, adult literacy centers, schools, community organizations, afterschool programs and preschool centers. At least two Saturdays per month, members volunteer with community organizations in service projects. These projects have included building homes with Habitat for Humanity, helping out at Special Olympics events, creating children’s literacy projects at afterschool programs, participating in homelessness awareness events, beach cleanups and many others.

In return for their year of national service, participants in this program, known as AmeriCorps members, receive a modest living allowance, an education award and health insurance. Literacy AmeriCorps provides opportunities for leadership development, professional growth and resume building. Many of our graduates have described their year of service as life changing. To learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of participation please read more information on the following pages: 

2012-2013 Program Outcomes:

  • 702 adult learners were assisted with reading, English and employability skills.
  • 83 adult learners were assisted in gaining employment.
  • 360 children received tutoring and literacy enrichment to improve reading skills.
  • 582 children were provided with homework help.
  • 1,215 at-risk youth and young adults were coached, tutored and mentored for academic success.
  • 306 volunteers were recruited or trained and gave 2,813 volunteer hours at service projects and literacy programs.
  • 2,570 new books were provided to low income children.
  • 40 full time AmeriCorps members contributed over 68,000 hours of service in tutoring, mentoring, teaching, community service events and volunteer recruitment.

 

PROGRAM IMPACT

At my tutoring site, we have many different levels of readers. I worked with the below level readers, as well as students seeking employment in the vocational center. Dequan is a student I helped with both issues. Dequan and I worked together for 50 minutes every school day to bring up his reading level. We charted his progress and discussed different books. What I saw as small gains here and there turned out to be huge gains for him. In the past, his reading level had never even moved.

This year was different. He progressed steadily through the curriculum with dedication. Dequan showed up to school every day and completed any assignment I gave him. He signed up for afterschool help and came up with new ideas for student internships. He is only 15, so he is not old enough to be employed full-time like our other students. He is old enough to have an internship and he completed three internships at the South Florida Science Museum. He flourished there. He also joined the school book club I started and was in the group of students who completed the most reading. He signed books out weekly from the library I created in my office with the help of the Literacy Coalition and the school. Dequan is also a huge proponent of community service and participated in every school fundraiser or project, including beach clean ups and car washes. Every day, Dequan walked into school, shook my hand as he passed my office and said, “Good morning, Miss.” His positive attitude was apparent and seemed to fuel his progress. He is hoping to gain employment in the upcoming year and graduate within two academic years. He truly loves to read, and I hope he continues to improve with the help of the new AmeriCorps member in the fall.

Sara Jacobs, AmeriCorps Member Site: Believers Academy

Sara hails from upstate New York and has a passion for teaching. After completing her service year, Sara will attend The University of Vermont to pursue a graduate degree in Education.