Access to quality education is a foundation of democracy and one of the keys to building a civically engaged population. At Campus Compact, our AmeriCorps programming impacts K-12 students in a number of ways, from improving academic performance to making college and other postsecondary opportunities more accessible to low-income students. Both our AmeriCorps VISTA and our K2H Civic Futures programs impact thousands of students across the United States.
AmeriCorps members serving in full or part-time roles through K2H Civic Futures develop, expand, or support evidence-based civic learning and engagement programs for K-12 students in school and community-based settings and create reciprocal partnerships between K-12 schools, community-based organizations focused on civic learning and engagement, and higher education partners. K2H Member Allison Pao shares that “my AmeriCorps term is taking place during an incredibly challenging time for schools, educators, and students. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the American education system…Through my work so far, I’ve learned how to be more innovative, flexible, and empathetic. I’ve also thought more deeply about the importance of youth voice and how I can best support youth voice in spaces which have traditionally been occupied by adults.”
Another K2H member, Alondra Hernandez Quintana, is serving as a student liaison in the immigrant services program at MSU Denver and is conducting research to create a guide for undocumented students to become more civicially engaged. K2H AmeriCorps members support programming that encourages civic engagement through multiple strategies. Focusing on service as a strategy for civic engagement, the Arvarda Aspires program that uses student service learning projects to meet community needs and leverages Campus Compact AmeriCorps resources to support this program.
The Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Program also supports K-12 success, with different projects supporting different focus areas and outcomes like academic improvement, after school programming, and STEM education. One project that shows the intersection of these is Joshua Young’s service at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), where they recruit and manage student volunteers to create in-person programs that provide STEM activities to students and families and created a tutoring program at Worcester Technical High School. “I have gotten to see a side of higher education and K-12 education that I previously was unaware of. I’ve learned how higher education, K-12 public schools and non-profit organizations interact,” Joshua shares, “I have a much greater appreciation for the city of Worcester, which I now live in, as well as the organizations that support the public school system.”