Tiana Burgess is a junior Human Services major at the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB). She has a strong commitment to servant leadership and community involvement. This current academic year she is serving as a part-time AmeriCorps member. This project is funded by the South Carolina office of the Corporation of National & Community Service. Tiana will provide 300 hours of service to the United Way of the Lowcountry's Read Indeed Program this academic year. This project has volunteers work with kindergarten through third graders who are academically behind and not reading at grade level. All the schools in this program serve low-income children. Tiana is working at the nearby Title 1 elementary school, M.C. Riley in Bluffton, South Carolina and provides tutoring and developmentally appropriate learning activities for first graders both to individuals and in small groups. For their community service, Corps members receive a bi-weekly small living allowance and a $1,100 education award that can be used for paying back student loans or educational expenses such as tuition or textbooks. In addition, Tiana used her service to earn 6 college credits in USCB's Human Services Internship program.
I'm very proactive when it comes to positive social change, so when I became a Human Services major, it only made sense to impact people's lives whenever I could. I enjoy working with the children, so I tutor at M.C. Riley Elementary School. I am proud to serve as an AmeriCorps member. This year in the Read Indeed Program of the United Way of the Lowcountry, 300+ volunteers and AmeriCorps members are serving 800 students in 12 different sites in Beaufort and Jasper counties near our campus. The United Way of the Lowcountry reports significant results with 95 percent of the participating students reading below grade level improving their reading scores in Beaufort County. I am honored and proud to be a part of this project that is attempting to improve the future of our children. The partnership between USCB, the local United Way, and the public schools has provided me a vital lesson in collaboration.