AmeriCorps Week 2018
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service website, "AmeriCorps Week is a celebration of all things AmeriCorps – from the programs and organizations that make this national service initiative possible in thousands of locations across the country, to the members who have committed to "Get Things Done" since the program’s inception in 1994."
Emerald Youth Foundation has been partnering with AmeriCorps since 1998. We want to recognize and thank all of our AmeriCorps members that serve in different ways across our organization.
AmeriCorps Week is celebrated nationally this year from March 11-17th and so during this time Emerald Youth is highlighting the service of some present AmeriCorps members. Make sure you check out their stories to hear more about their AmeriCorps experience! (Learn more about Summer 2018 AmeriCorps positions here).
Mount Zion Baptist Church
Sierra has been serving with Emerald Youth as an AmeriCorps member for three years. Being a friend and mentor to the kids at the Mount Zion Baptist JustLead program is her passion. Day to day she serves with the children teaching art, theater and health.
One of her biggest surprises and joys serving with AmeriCorps is the bond that she has built with kids. She loves the mutual trust that has been built and the ability to be a positive role model in that community. This past year a standout moment for Sierra was a positive change in a relationship with a student. The relationship started off very challenging, but by continuing to be positive and consistent she was able to earn respect and form a close bond with the student.
Sierra’s ability to work with kids and love them well is undeniable. Emerald Youth is very blessed to have her as part of AmeriCorps.
Emerald Avenue United Methodist Church
Sarah Marlow has exceeded expectations this year. She is rocking it out in the Learning Lab. She makes sure to meet all requirements and works hard to make sure all her students have their own individual goals and learning paths in Moby Max. She knows her students’ strengths and areas of need and can respond appropriately to give additional practice during lab. She also goes above and beyond planning enrichment activities each week. Finally, she gives of her time and volunteers to attend camps and extra activities with the students.
--Sarah’s AmeriCorps Supervisor
Sarah was referred to Emerald Youth’s AmeriCorps program by a friend and was excited for the opportunity to serve the Oakwood-Lincoln Park neighborhood. Serving has always been a passion of hers, and she loves going to her site every day knowing that her service matters.
Sarah’s focus is the learning program at Emerald Avenue UMC. The thing she likes best about this role is seeing the kids’ knowledge progress from August to May. She has been surprised by the strength of the bonds she has made so far. At first relationships seemed like her biggest challenge, but she has found that once she started getting to know the kids, they warmed up quickly.
A standout moment for Sarah this past year was when she realized that she is not only teaching the kids, but they are teaching her in many ways! “They teach me how to be patient, love well and have compassion,” she said.
We appreciate all that Sarah does and the way she is empowering kids with knowledge and a bright future.
North Knoxville Baptist Church
Nick grew up in JustLead and became an AmeriCorps member because he wanted kids to have the same experience he did. Not only does he enjoy making an impact on children in the community, but he also loves serving alongside the other AmeriCorps members and volunteers.
Nick has been an AmeriCorps member since August and sees his role as building relationships. He has been surprised how quickly he felt comfortable working with the kids and how easily those relationships have formed.
Nick’s supervisor said, “When Nick first arrived he showed initiative. Once he knows how things go, he doesn’t wait around to be asked what to do. It is so refreshing to have a first-time AmeriCorps member do that.”
Diversity is something that Nick has been challenged by and appreciated this past year. He said all the kids are very diverse in how they think and act, and it has been a challenge to figure out what works best for each of them.
When JustLead children become JustLead leaders, it is such a blessing to see how things come full circle. We know that Nick is making a significant impact with children across Knoxville, and he will continue to be an excellent role model.
The Restoration House Of East Tennessee
Audrey is an AmeriCorps member in Emerald Youth’s afterschool ministry at The Restoration House of East Tennessee, which focuses on relationships with single mothers and their children. She works with elementary age kids helping them with homework, leading recreational time and leading a weekly nutrition lesson provided through the Knox County Health Department. Audrey said, “I enjoy getting to watch the kids grow and learn new things.”
Audrey has been serving with AmeriCorps for a year and a half. One of her favorite aspects of being an AmeriCorps member with Emerald Youth is getting to know people from diverse backgrounds and hear their stories.
A standout moment for her this past year was during a science experiment. In groups, the kids put an egg in vinegar and observed how the vinegar took off the shell. They also observed how the shell reacted in water and corn syrup. Audrey loved how fascinated the kids were with the different outcomes.
A challenge for Audrey from this past year is trying to figure out each of the children’s learning styles and then better help accommodate those needs. Audrey loves how knowledgeable the kids are and the way they soak up everything like a sponge.
“Audrey goes above and beyond what she is asked to do during program,” according to her supervisor. Emerald Youth is thankful for all that Audrey does and the way she is investing in kids at The Restoration House!
Laurel Church of Christ
Shawn has been an Emerald Youth AmeriCorps member since 2016. He enjoys playing sports with the kids in JustLead at Laurel Church of Christ and leads the physical education class. He also teaches structured lessons to kindergarten-third grade students.
Shawn enjoys serving in his community and feels that, “AmeriCorps’ connection with the community creates a positive environment and provides a sense of hope and encouragement for those in need.”
A standout moment for Shawn was JustLead Camp Week this past summer. Camp Week gives kids an opportunity to learn and participate in developmental, hands on activities. Shawn was in the “Open Waters” group. This group met on a boat and gave kids an opportunity to swim.
“Shawn juggles service to JustLead with a wife, two children, and a career as a professor at Pellissippi State. Even with all he has going on, he's an incredibly dependable AmeriCorps member. His love for the kids and dedication to our community is impressive as he works to help JustLead children avoid many of the same mistakes he made in his youth,” according to his supervisor.
Emerald appreciates Shawn’s dedication and desire to be a positive presence in the life of kids.
Second United Methodist Church
Hannah started serving with AmeriCorps and Emerald Youth from a friend’s suggestion.
After working with children for several years, this was the perfect opportunity for Hannah to serve kids and finish her last year of college. Hannah is a wonderful fit, and her supervisor said, “Honestly, she is just great! She’s on top of everything, flexible and helpful.”
Her favorite part of being an AmeriCorps member is helping elementary school kids with their homework every day. “I absolutely love it when I watch a kid work through an assignment and it just clicks for them. The joy and excitement they show makes me so happy,” Hannah said.
She serves with over twenty kids from Maynard Elementary School, and describes them as being fiercely bold, kind-hearted, loyal and loving children. She said they have been growing as leaders and loving each other well this year.
Emerald appreciates the way Hannah invests in kids and shows them how to be good leaders.