Don't worry, I'm not talking air conditioning just yet -- if I wanted that I'd just take a step out to the arctic blast this morning! Today we're talking AC as in AmeriCorps -- did you know that Grinnell has had a very robust AmeriCorps partnership for the past several years? Largely spearheaded by Grinnell College and in collaboration with the Grinnell Education Partnership, the effort integrates several different organizations and partners from the Chamber of Commerce to the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Drake Community Library, LINK, Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell Community Early Learning Center, Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation and so many more, in an effort to support kids and families in Grinnell. The program aims to give students a strong start so they can succeed early in school and ties with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Locally, the program truly is a collaborative effort to establish various programs in many different facets, and have supported many great programs including healthy readers, summer programming, addressing skills gaps and after-school care.
Cut-out hearts of what we love about the Partnership.
Our team participated in a meeting of the Grinnell Education Partnership just last week to talk about accomplishments, while also taking a look ahead to the future, and I have to share some of the remarkable successes as a result of this partnership. Just in the past year, the Partnership has been recognized by the International Town Gown Association (ITGA) with a Presidential Excellence Award for Volunteerism, a Pacesetter Award from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, and Outstanding Nonprofit Collaboration Award from Volunteer Iowa. And while awards are rewarding and exciting to share, what may be more exciting are that reading test scores of our youth are improving, school attendance has improved, and children are entering kindergarten more 'school ready' than they have in the past, in part due to this collective impact initiative that is working to build sustainable models and programs.
AmeriCorps members help supplement the work happening in many of the aforementioned agencies around their work on the campaign, and have truly added so much to each of these programs. Over the past five years, more than 150 AmeriCorps members have been placed, and 300+ volunteers have contributed nearly 1,000 hours of volunteer time, and they're looking to expand that number even more by placing approximately 35 individuals this summer! If you or someone you know might be looking for a summer opportunity to help Grinnell's youth, this is a great one - you can find details here!