As the Literacy Specialist for Energizing Education, I have the great privilege of meeting and training all of our literacy mentors. I truly enjoy being with people who are vested in their community and willing to invest real time each week in an effort to improve the lives of children.
Learning about the ways that children learn to read and write has been my passion throughout my career as an educator. My experiences in education are all over the board. I have taught kindergarten at a private school, spent 12 years with our local Head Start Program, and in my work at the Jackson Intermediate School District I have had the opportunity to work with teachers from Kindergarten through 8th grade. In addition, this fall I joined the Adjunct Faculty at Jackson College where I am teaching…..(what else?)….READING!
Being a part of Energizing Education is extremely rewarding for me. It’s a community effort with broad support and participation from a diverse group of dedicated individuals. The positive vibe is infectious when you’re surrounded by people who are choosing to volunteer their time. Not only that, the Energizing Education Staff, lead by Kriss Giannetti are a fantastic group of people to work with.
If I was asked 3 years ago where I would be and what I would be doing, being an Americorps VISTA wouldn’t have been my first answer. Three years ago I served my first year and have had a passion for national service ever since. I think it says a lot about a person to commit one year to service and sufficing on just a living stipend. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding both personally and professionally. Being a VISTA has definitely tested my patience, developed my character, and has helped me realize what I am really passionate about. I’ve met many people along the way who have added so much value to my experiences that I definitely won’t forget.
Coming back to serve in my hometown is an opportunity I’m lucky to have been given. It’s great to be involved in my community this way and influencing the youth where I actually grew up. I think education is very important. I’ve always valued my education experience growing up, so to give back and be a mentor to a child is something I’m excited about. I think not only instilling good reading habits, but also having an adult role model will hopefully be a positive experience for the child I mentor. I definitely believe mentors are a key factor in Energizing Educations’ success. Not every child is fortunate enough to have someone invest that much time in them (albeit only two days a week) and care about their educational successes.
As a VISTA, members serve to help those in disadvantaged circumstances and eliminate poverty. This year I’m looking forward to working with Energizing Education and supporting this cause. I fully support the mission and think it is very important that children are encouraged to reach their potential. I’ve always been a lover of reading since I was little and I know how important it is not only to succeeding in school but also how great it can be for fun. Although the school year is just underway, I’m looking forward to what is to come. Join me and let your mentoring start today!
As we finally see spring in the air we know it’s the end of our Energizing Education year. We are grateful for the mentors and schools that have supported us this year. A funny thing happened as we all experienced our first year. Turns out….. EE wasn’t just about improving reading levels.
Many of our students and their mentors have made strong bonds. We knew part of the issue for some of our students was that there is no one at home able or willing to read with them. But we did not realize that by providing someone to do that with them would have even greater outcomes. The consistency of our mentors has changed many of our children’s lives, as well as their own. It’s heartwarming to see the special relationships. Some of the students who have graduated from the program have made arrangements to continue spending time with their mentors. That probably is the most rewarding part of Energizing Education for those of us in it and at it every day!