Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month
Brittany Kuopus is currently serving her first year with the Superior AmeriCorps program in Houghton, located in Michigan’s far northwest Upper Peninsula. Members serving with the Superior AmeriCorps program provide education services to pre-K through third grade rural students at risk of reading failure. As a result of members’ service, students will demonstrate improved school readiness and academic performance in literacy. Members also recruit volunteers to assist with reading related school activities and classroom projects.
Brittany’s host site is BHK Child Development, which is a preschool that serves Head Start and Great Start School Readiness children and families. She serves in a classroom of 16 children age 3–5 years and provides assistance with hands-on learning activities, teaching social skills, conflict resolution, and character development, working one on one with at-risk children, and keeping accurate records of interventions and progress of each child. The children in this program often begin the year with very few of the social or academic skills that are expected when they enter kindergarten. Many of them need additional support when they are not responding to the regular curriculum. Brittany works with these students one-on-one to build their skills and boost their confidence so they will be able to walk into their kindergarten classrooms ready to succeed.
“One of the things that makes Brittany so special is her commitment to getting every child ready to learn,” stated Robin Orr, Lead Teacher for Houghton BHK Preschool. “She gets to know each child and what they are interested in. We have one little boy who is very interested in cars and not much else. We had been trying to increase his alphabet knowledge, but he just wasn’t responding. Brittany planned an activity by making a large race track for the Hot Wheels cars to run on. The track had each of the letters of the alphabet on it so the little boy could begin to name the letters as he drove the car on the track. Brittany loves to go on Pinterest to gather ideas to bring activities like this into the classroom that are tailored to each child’s interests.”
In addition to her service responsibilities, Brittany actively seeks out and participates in many other community service projects and training opportunities. She has participated in MADD, the renovation of a park for children, assisted with book drives, and is currently in the process of planning for the program’s annual Camp Read Away.
“Brittany is a model AmeriCorps member, actively participating in nearly all the service projects and opportunities available,” Robin continued. “Besides all of the AmeriCorps activities and events, Brittany is raising her four year old daughter, Isabella, on her own and working another part-time job to support her. She is one busy young woman! Brittany is an outstanding asset to the program and we are very lucky to have her serving in our classroom.”