Youth Achievement Corps
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a national service program, similar to the Peace Corps. Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities across the U.S. for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve at local and national nonprofits. In return, AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance to help cover their bills, and an Education Award of up to $5,550 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans.
What is the Youth Achievement Corps?
United Way was awarded a federal AmeriCorps grant to begin the Youth Achievement Corps in September 2011. The program currently has 8 AmeriCorps members in Cedar Rapids who are tutors and who serve with education programs that help low-income students and families.
What has the Youth Achievement Corps done?
- Tutoring: In the 2011-12 school year, five AmeriCorps members provided 2,136 hours of tutoring to 305 students at Grant Wood Elementary and McKinley Middle School. At Grant Wood, 97% of students who received consistent tutoring improved their reading and math scores.
- STEM Programming: With AmeriCorps members as the program facilitators, United Way partnered with McKinley Middle School to pilot a summer STEM Academy. This Academy exposed 20 students to careers in science, technology, engineering or math, through field trips and hands-on activities related to a theme of alternative energy.
- Early Learning: The AmeriCorps member with RED Ahead, United Way’s early literacy program, has conducted 493 visits with families in the past five months. During these visits, families receive early literacy tips and materials, so that their children will be on track in reading when they enter kindergarten.
How does the Youth Achievement Corps fit into United Way’s community goals?
United Way has two education goals for our community:
- Increase the number of low-income children ready for school by 50 percent
- Increase the number of low-income youth with 21st Century skills by 25 percent
AmeriCorps members with the Youth Achievement Corps are working toward these goals by supporting two early learning programs: RED Ahead and Play & Learn. AmeriCorps members also tutor students who are below proficiency in reading or math, so that they can catch up to their peers and be prepared to succeed in school and life.