Contact: Jessica Hull / Communications and Public Relations Officer 831.784.4245 (o), 209.679.4858 (c)
Salinas, Calif. – For over 15 years, the Monterey County Office of Education’s AmeriCorps program Monterey County United for Literacy has made a difference in the lives of countless young readers by taking on the task of improving literacy in local schools. AmeriCorps members serve as leaders in the community to raise literacy levels of struggling Kindergarten through fourth-grade students by providing one-on-one or small group reading tutoring during and after school. This past school year, more than 650 Monterey County students received over 20,000 hours of tutoring at 13 schools in Monterey County. This resulted in remarkable growth amongst these students with fifty-five percent increasing their reading comprehension by one grade level or more (some as many as three grade levels).
AmeriCorps members give 11 months of their lives to serve in communities and commit to 1700 hours of service time. They make extreme personal sacrifices, not only with their time, but also their finances; choosing to live off of a living allowance designed only to help support basic needs.
Twenty-seven Monterey County United for Literacy volunteers served three school districts in Monterey County in the 2015-16 school year – Alisal Union, Greenfield Union and King City Union.
The Monterey County Office of Education hosted the AmeriCorps Monterey County United for Literacy and CalSERVES VIP End of Service Ceremony on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Tuesday morning’s program featured words of thanks and presentations of certificates from local officials, as well as many AmeriCorps volunteers sharing their personal stories of reflection on the year and its impact on their lives and the lives of those they served.
In addition to their AmeriCorps assignment of tutoring struggling readers, AmeriCorps members engage in literacy initiatives on a broader scope. This year, AmeriCorps second-year team member, Xander Judge, convened a team to scale-up the level of research for students in the fourth grade as they complete the traditional missions project. Ten AmeriCorps members supported over 100 fourth-grade students at Jesse Sanchez Elementary over a two-day period. The results of these efforts led students to a much deeper understanding of the mission system and its history, and gave them foundational research skills to assist them with future projects.
Also honored for their year of service were eleven CalSERVES VIP volunteers served eleven different local community non-profit organizations and programs throughout the county including CSUMB, Chinatown Renewal Project, Everyone’s Harvest, Loaves Fishes and Computers, Peacock Acres, and United Way of Monterey.
During Tuesday’s event, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Nancy Kotowski, spoke to the lifelong impact a year of service can have, and shared her personal experiences as a member of the Peace Corps. “The students you have worked with will live in your hearts forever. They have impacted your life as much as you have impacted theirs.”
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