Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month

MI AmeriCorps Member of the Month - May 2015: Jessica Newberry, Michigan Education Corps

As a full-time AmeriCorps member with the Michigan Education Corps program, Jessica Newberry has already made a significant impact on the youth, school, and community she serves. Jessica is an Elementary Literacy Tutor at Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter Academy in Detroit. She is responsible for tutoring multiple K-3rd grade students identified as needing additional literacy skill support and development.

The service Jessica and the Michigan Education Corps (MEC) provides helps students achieve success not only in their current year, but also in years to come by giving students strong foundational skills that are cemented through daily tutoring. Jessica was trained in the EBLI (Evidence Based Literacy Instruction) model at the beginning of her term and has utilized it all year, closing the gap her students have faced and helping them to become better readers.

Not only has Jessica been a constant presence at her primary service site for students, the staff, and the community, but she also has reached out into greater Detroit to ensure students are getting tutoring support beyond the school day. Shortly after her service began this past fall, Jessica contacted various libraries in Detroit and offered her service and tutoring abilities to students visiting the library. She was turned down multiple times before finally receiving a positive response from the Knapp Branch of the Detroit Public Library. Since creating this program and partnering with staff at the library, Jessica estimates she has served approximately 50 students, with 25 being unique to her service at the library. The demand for her service has been so well received that Jessica has recruited two fellow MEC members to join her in the opportunity to tutor and serve local youth!

Prior to becoming an AmeriCorps member, Jessica was a Research and Teaching Assistant with the California Institute of the Arts and the College for Creative Studies. Upon completion of her term this year, Jessica plans to graduate with a MA in Aesthetics and Politics from CalArts and will be applying to PhD programs next fall. She is also an editorial assistant for the arts journal Detroit Research. Their first issue was published in March and has since sold out, so they are now working on ideas for the second issue. In the long term, Jessica wants to teach, write, and pursue creative endeavors.

For more information about the Michigan Education Corps AmeriCorps program, please contact program director Tom Bobo at tbobo@hopenetwork.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.