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7/9/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

America Reads-Mississippi, a literacy-based AmeriCorps Program, will host a graduation luncheon to honor 250 AmeriCorps members on Friday, July 13, 2007. The “Life After AmeriCorps” celebration will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson. America-Reads – Mississippi AmeriCorps Program Members who have completed their year of service, program administrators, key partners, and other friends will be recognized for their efforts. Media are invited and encouraged to attend.

America Reads-Mississippi is the largest AmeriCorps program of its kind in the nation, with 270 members serving at 58 elementary and middle schools across Mississippi. The program is in the process of expanding to include 350 members who service 80 schools. Members tutor students in reading, recruit volunteers for literacy activities, and conduct community service projects that meet local needs.

This year, the America Reads-Mississippi AmeriCorps members:

  • Tutored 4,118 students daily (on average) with 63 percent improving in reading by one letter grade, 31 percent improving by two letter grades, 6 percent improving by more than two letter grades, and 99 percent improving in school attitude, homework, class work, and self-confidence;
  • Recruited 19,566 volunteers who volunteered 50,957 hours, which benefited 72,550 people and represented $956,463 of value (2006 Independent Sector Volunteer Hourly Value of $18.77 per hour); and
  • Earned $1,275,750 in federal AmeriCorps education scholarship dollars.

Members receive a $4,725 education award at the end of their year of service to fund college tuition or to pay back student loans. After their year of service, approximately 75 percent of all Corps members plan to go to college to become certified teachers and ultimately help decrease the teacher shortage in many parts of the state. Since 1998, 2,340 members served 3,978,000 hours and earned $11,056,500 of AmeriCorps college scholarship dollars.

The program, administered by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Office of Academic and Student Affairs, is federally funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service and from state funds through partnering schools. America Reads-Mississippi is implemented regionally in Mississippi’s academically low achieving school districts by staff at partner universities including Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, and Mississippi State University. After August 1, the University of Southern Mississippi will become a partner university and will implement the program in additional schools in south Mississippi.

Other partners include the Alcorn State University Education/Psychology Department, America Learns, the Barksdale Reading Institute, the Delta State University Center for Community Development, the Jackson State University Mississippi Learning Institute, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi State University Center for Educational Partnerships, the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Community and Civic Engagement, and US Networx.

For more information, contact America Reads-Mississippi State Director 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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