AmeriCorps Week, celebrated annually during the second full week of March, is a time to recognize and give thanks to the millions of Americans who have committed to giving back to their communities through national service programs. At the core of service is a shared goal – to make a difference. AmeriCorps members serving in local communities across the nation set out to address some of our nation’s greatest challenges, like poverty and access to quality education.
Since 2020, Hindman Settlement School has partnered with the AmeriCorps federal agency and the state service commission to address childhood literacy in southeastern Kentucky through the power of members serving in the ReadingCorps project. Our team of 40 members provides opportunities and forever changes lives by removing barriers to reading at 20 partner school sites across the region. These are just a few of the stories of service shared by our members when asked to reflect on their time with ReadingCorps.
Grace, Buckhorn Elementary, 3 years of service
I love getting to use my knowledge and love for language and communication in a hands-on, practical way to help kids in my community develop in the critically important skills of literacy and fluency. It has helped me to be more aware of those who don’t instantly understand how to read and write, and to find ways to accommodate those who may have more struggles with literacy. Difficulty reading affects every part of a person’s life. Being able to step in and try to help alleviate those struggles is such a blessing to me. The kids can see how they’re improving and their growing confidence proves just how valuable this work is, even on days when it feels futile. I am truly blessed to do what I do.
Renee, West Perry Elementary, 1 year of service
My service is all about helping those who just need a little extra! One of my new students, for example, saw me in the hallway after his first tutoring sessions and asked, “Are you pulling me today?” I said, “I sure am!” It makes me feel good that students want to work on reading with me. I am in the process of earning a teaching certificate, so this is where my heart is. Seeing the kids learn and succeed is why I enjoy serving so much! When they sound out a hard word and figure out what it is–the smile on their face and the excitement when I say, “Great job! Give me a high five!” means the world! Making a difference is what it’s all about.
Hillary, WB Muncy Elementary, 1 year of service
I love serving as an AmeriCorps member through ReadingCorps because it’s very rewarding to see the students accomplish new goals! Something exciting about my service is that I get to meet new people along the way and it is an experience to prepare me for my job in the future. My service has impacted my life by knowing that what I do for the kids is rewarding for not just me, but for them also and they will never forget that. You make big impacts on students’ lives when you’re helping them do something that they thought they never could accomplish!
Jon, Middlesboro Middle School, 2 years of service
ReadingCorps gives me the opportunity to SEE the impact I have through my service. When I joined, I wanted to help my community, but I did not expect to see results so soon. And I never expected to be personally thanked by the parents and teachers of my students. After just a few weeks of tutoring, I began to see tremendous growth in my students’ reading comprehension. Teachers even pulled me aside to share how well their students were doing. The same with parents who have expressed how their children are now able to read things that they usually couldn’t or had trouble with before. So, if I were to say what I love about my service with AmeriCorps, it’d be the change for the better that I can see with my students as I teach them. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing for my community.
Thank you to these and all of the AmeriCorps members serving students across our Reading Labs! Their work changes lives and strengthens our communities.