Grinnell Chamber

Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership is to actively engage the community in the development and implementation of sustainable programs that support collaborative education initiatives. 


The vision of the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership  is that through multiple action areas, Grinnell will have a central mechanism for identifying problems, organizing task forces, creating viable solutions, implementing solutions using a connected network of volunteers and generating awareness about the work that has happened and  what is still needed.

School Readiness

To prepare Grinnell's children for Kindergarten, and instill a love of learning at home and school, in order to be successful students throughout their learning career.

Summer Learning

To plan and develop summer learning opportunities, such as summer school enrichment and summer learning programs, for Grinnell children in kindergarten through third grade. 


To eliminate chronic absence in Grinnell-Newburg Schools by identifying barriers to attendance and developing programs that can help remove those barriers.

Healthy Readers

To promote, create and implement programming that focuses on nutrition and wellness in an effort to arm parents, children and community with seeds of knowledge for lifelong healthy habits.

After-School Enrichment

To transform existing afterschool programs into extended learning environments, using grade-appropriate lesson plans based on the school curriculum.

Skills Gap Task Force

To nourish a sustainable model that identifies educational barriers and challenges, promotes community engagement and creates viable solutions to enhance overall student experiences.


Grinnell and AmeriCorps have joined efforts using a “collective action” network framework, to maximize and better align existing resources to support community education priorities in Poweshiek County. Using this framework, the goal is to provide and implement systems and strategies to:

  • To ensure that all third graders are reading at a third grade level.
  • To teach students soft and hard skills to help them excel in the workplace.
  • To create after-school and summer enrichment programs to battle adverse effects of summer learning loss.

Americorp Service Members (from left to right): Jacob Washington, Melissa Berman, Beth Crow,  Jess Kite, Mary Zheng, Deloris Cowan, Doug Cameron, Lee Smith 

AmeriCorps Backbone Support

In line with capacity building, two AmeriCorps service members have been tasked with coordinating volunteer and communications efforts. 

Health & Wellness

Healthy Readers Coordinator: Nikki Laug, AmeriCorps Service Member 

This AmeriCorps Service Member is responsible for partnering with community stakeholders to promote kids' health and wellness in order to provide a healthy foundation for young children. One of the core areas of focus is the Mileage Club, which encourages students to walk or run laps at recess and track the total miles.  

Family & Community Engagement 

Community Engagement Coordinator: Mariah Hirsch, AmeriCorps Service Member 

This AmeriCorps Service Member works with the community at large to build awareness of the community-based education initiatives. One of the core areas of focus for the Community Engagement Coordinator is to help address the local child care gap which includes a shortage of access to care for infants and toddlers as well as before/afterschool care for kids ages 5-12. 

Partnership Supporters

At the national level, the anchor investor for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In Iowa, the campaign is supported by the work of the Iowa Council of Foundations. Locally, the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership is made possible by a 2015 AmeriCorps grant through the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, and two generous donations from the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. The AmeriCorps Grant is administered by Grinnell College and provides for a team of more than 30 AmeriCorps service members. The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation houses a fund to support the effort and has successfully applied for additional grants to enrich the effort. 

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