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4/8/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

America Reads Mississippi (ARM) boasts 25 male members this year – the highest number of males serving in the federal-state program since it was established about a dozen years ago.

In an effort to recruit more males to the program and keep those participating now motivated, ARM is hosting its first annual male summit from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Jackson State University e-Center.

Cassio Batteast, a noted motivational speaker and life coach, will serve as the lead facilitator.

“It’s important that we bring diverse perspectives to the children our members are tutoring and mentoring,” said Sandra Herring, ARM Assistant Program Director. “We want all our students to be able to relate to the members because that is when we really see results.”

ARM members serve partner schools by helping to improve the literacy skills of students. Schools select the members they want to serve in the classrooms at that site. Members serve at least eight hours Monday through Friday, with some weekend service to implement service projects. At the end of their service year, members earn an educational award that can be applied to tuition or student loans.

“The schools have recruited more males and that has helped diversify our corps,” Herring added.

There are currently 334 full-time ARM members who serve at school sites across the state. ARM is made possible through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and operates regionally through a partnership with five of Mississippi’s public universities.

ARM oversight at the state level is a joint effort through the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service and the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). The IHL Board of Trustees, which governs public universities, has committed to helping ensure students are ready for college and teachers receive first-rate training at universities across the state.

For more information, including a list of school sites, about America Reads Mississippi visit americareadsms.org.


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