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April 21, 2015
Last spring I moved to Colorado in an effort to explore the world outside of Northern California where I grew up, went to college, and worked after college. Joining AmeriCorps is in part a step towards making this new place a home. Having spent the last year working in the service industry, AmeriCorps has been a fantastic way for me to get back to doing the work I love. Colorado Reading Corps is a move indoors for me, which is not quite what I expected upon coming to Colorado last spring.
Previous to this experience, I primarily worked with students in an outdoor setting. My first job out of college was as an Education Intern with the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island. There, I would give a social studies based program to local middle and high school students on the Rock itself. While I was a student at UC Santa Cruz, I would lead tours of the campus for the general public as well as to middle and high school students.
While both these experiences were amazing, one of the best parts of Colorado Reading Corps is working with one group of students, and getting to know them all so well. Instead of a class I only see once, or at best three times, I have a group of students I see every single day. This is hands down my favorite part of the job. I get to know each student; I find out who likes dragons, who likes which pen, and who loves Minecraft—actually, I am learning way more about Minecraft than I ever expected. Apart from the joy these connections bring, they allow me to be better at my job, by employing strategies specific to each students' needs and personality.
On a literacy level, these students continually bring new life to my job routine as they progress in their reading. Every day for many of these students is a chance for them to achieve small victories and milestones on their way to the eventual goal of exiting the program. While I am able to notice the progress these students make, it is really rewarding to track their data through progress monitoring. I get a thrill each week when I enter their scores and can pull up a graph that actually shows how much these students are learning.
The work I do for AmeriCorps outside of the school is also very rewarding. As an AmeriCorps member, my service feels like a more holistic experience than a typical job. Through the program I receive encouragement to grow as a professional and a person— the work outside my school site really allows me to develop new skills and enhance old ones. This outside work also gives variety to my work week—keeping the school routine fresh. By giving myself the time to volunteer in the community I also get to connect with more people who share similar interests with me, which is slowly turning the Front Range into my community instead of a community.
Colorado Readings Corps Members commit to one year of service at oneof theThomspon School District elementary schools to provide learning interventions. We are now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 school year. Click here to apply.
If you have questions about becoming a Colorado Reading Corps Member, contact Melinda at 970-407-7052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is based upon work supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) under AmeriCorps Grant No. 12AFHCO0010013. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by, CNCS or the AmeriCorps program.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County