Exceeding goals: AmeriCorps program provides needed services to at-risk youth and their parents

February 27, 2015

Our local AmeriCorps program is one of the first programs to start up in the country. We have received funding to sponsor 20 to 25 AmeriCorps members for each eleven-month term. At the end of their term of service AmeriCorps members receive $4,725 towards their higher education goals. It is a win-win opportunity all the way around.

Our members serve in rural mountain communities of the Colorado Rockies, covering a several hundred-mile region of the College district. Our mission for 1999 was to increase self-reliance by developing program members and by identifying and providing needed services to at-risk youth and their parents in a collaborative and responsive environment with human service agencies from both Garfield and Lake Counties.””

As of 1999, eleven full-time and five part-time members successfully graduated from this AmeriCorps program. The three members serving in schools surpassed the program goal for involvement with youth by 25%; we exceeded our goals for new contacts with youth by nearly 160%. 90% of the targeted youths’ school grades increased by our goal of one grade level in math, science, and social studies. 80% of targeted youth raised their grade one level in English and reading. Most of these youth were “”English as a second language”” students. (Spanish is their first language.) Surveys completed by local teachers showed a 100% satisfaction regarding the performance and involvement of AmeriCorps members.

In social service agencies, AmeriCorps members more than doubled their expected number of service hours in group contacts, spending time in 2,950 group contact projects. Members in social service agencies served nearly 3,100 individuals.

In our first quarter for 1999 We had eighteen full-time members newly enrolled in an eleven-month commitment to service in our communities.

Nine members were serving in schools. We have already achieved 89% of our goal regarding student contacts and over double our goal for group tutoring. In youth centers, new members collaborated between communities to schedule events that involve kids from various areas, representing a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic diversity. In social service agencies, surveys show a decrease in dangerous behaviors.

Anecdotal stories from our CMC AmeriCorps members past & present

    • “”The ESL students I work with are truly amazing. They have an eagerness for learning and a respect for teachers and the school like I have never seen before. Two of the boys [in middle school] speak very little English. Together, we work on vocabulary and pronunciation in both Spanish and English. I hope I am as patient with them as they are with me. They never laugh at my feeble attempts to communicate with them, they smile and nod encouragingly as I stumble with the ‘ll’ sound or forget to roll my r’s””.

“”A family the Department of Human Services has been working with since May of ’98 has been unable to keep their home “”fit”” without support for years. Whenever I’ve worked with this family (approximately twice a week for two hours each session) the house would get cleaned up appropriately, but they never maintained their home between visits. Just last Friday, I arrived at their home and found it in perfect condition. The mom had found herself quite a bit of inner strength and decided to take charge of her household and four children. It was one of the best moments I’ve experienced this year!””

“”I work with a kid that has emotional problems, and possibly suffers from ADD. He does not do well in class and is constantly being taken out of class for inappropriate behavior. He was not finishing his work on time. I was told that if he did not have every one of his drafts and an outline of an essay done in a week, he would not be allowed to turn it in and therefore would receive a failing grade. He worked with me for two days during his English class. On the first day he finished his outline. On the second day he finished a five-paragraph essay. He was so proud of himself that he typed his final draft that night. His essay was so good that it is displayed in the hall with some of the other children’s outstanding essays.””

“”A youngster who seldom attended the recreation center is now showing up on a regular basis. This youngster suffers from Leukemia and must undergo treatments once a month. He said to me, ‘I’m feeling much better but the other kids still tease me about my hair loss’. I told him, ‘Hair will come and go, but your true friends, like me, don’t notice if you have hair or not’. He looked at me and said, ‘That means a lot, coming from a Bald Guy!'””

Contact Contact person: Scott Dziura , Americorps Field Coordinator,

Colorado Mountain College - CO, Colorado
President: Cynthia M. Heelan
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