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5/17/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

AmeriCorps members working with America Reads-Mississippi (ARM), also known as Tutors With A Mission, are spreading the good news of their service by hosting open houses for the general public during National AmeriCorps Week, May 13-20, 2007.

AmeriCorps is a national program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that works with local, state, and national service programs to recruit people for community service. This year marks the first time the program has designated a week for volunteer recruitment. In addition to recruitment, the week aims to salute members and alums for their service impact and to thank community partners who assist in making the program possible. America Reads-Mississippi is hosting open house events at all 58 schools across the state where AmeriCorps members serve.

There are 270 ARM AmeriCorps members who tutor pre-kindergarten through middle school students full-time during the school day, before and after school, and in the summer. Since 1998, ARM members have tutored over 6,000 students every day in reading. “Sometimes all a child needs is a little individualized help to gain confidence and blossom academically,” said Randee Williams, the state program director.

All students tutored in the reading program improved their reading levels by at least one letter grade, 21 percent improved their reading levels by two grades, and 6 percent improved their reading level by three or more grades. Teachers reported that most of the tutored students improved in the areas of homework, attitude toward school, class work, and overall outlook and confidence. According to Rosa Demby, principal of Holy Family School in Natchez, ARM tutoring helped improve the reading and comprehension skills of the students. “The ARM members are truly an asset to our school,” said Demby.

Not only do ARM members tutor in reading, they also recruit volunteers for the schools, conduct community service projects, establish junior citizenship corps clubs, which provide opportunities for students to get involved in service learning projects, and participate in four national service days, including National Youth Service Day (NYSD) recently held in April.

Seventy-five percent of the 270 ARM AmeriCorps members strive each year to become certified teachers helping to decrease the state’s teacher shortage. AmeriCorps members earn an education award of $4,725 for their year of service, which they may use to pay for college or pay back student loans.

America Reads-Mississippi AmeriCorps Program operates as part of the Institutions of Higher Learning, Office of Academic and Student Affairs, in collaboration with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, other state agencies, higher education, and community partners. For more information about America Reads-Mississippi, call Randee Williams at (601) 432-6380.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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