Michigan's AmeriCorps Alum Spotlight

MI AmeriCorps Alum Spotlight - December 2016: Kelsey Duthil


For Kelsey Duthil, serving as an AmeriCorps member with the Family Literacy Program helped her learn more about how nonprofits work and their role in the community. “AmeriCorps gave me the opportunity to serve in a community school with many partners, and learn about the students and parents,” Kelsey stated.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan’s Family Literacy Program (FLP) partners with Head Start for Kent County, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Godwin Heights Public Schools to break the generational cycle of low literacy by educating parents of children, helping them to become their child’s first and best teacher. The family literacy model includes parent/adult education, child education, parent time, and Parent and Child Together Time (PACT). This unique, evidence-based model plays a key role in ensuring parents are improving their own literacy skills, engaging with their children’s education, and participating in literacy-related activities at home.

The connections Kelsey made during her term of service led to a job as the Mentor Center Manager with Affinity Mentoring. “Now that I am working with one of the school’s partners, I see how the relationships I developed last year through the ELL (English Language Learner) program have helped me continue to strengthen connections with the students and families that I met in 2015.”

Kelsey graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from Calvin College, and she is passionate about multilingual, multicultural neighborhoods, community collaboration, and intersectionality in education. She believes in the power of mentorship, and the integral role mentors have in completing the circle of support every child should have. 

When asked what her AmeriCorps service means to her, Kelsey replied, “It means giving your life to a life of selflessness, developing a better character, and learning essential job skills for life in the work force.”

Kelsey continues to promote a spirit of service in a variety of ways. “I turn my jogs into opportunities to clear up trash in the neighborhood. I volunteer for the school I used to serve at, and suggest AmeriCorps to all my friends who have a heart for humanitarian work and want to give back.”

For more information about the Family Literacy AmeriCorps program, click here or contact program director Ariel DuVal at aduval@literacycenterwm.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.