Mahaska County Gets Piece of $2.8 Million Volunteer Service Grant

United Way of Mahaska County

United Way of Mahaska County

June 30, 2014 (OSKALOOSA, IA) – Students struggling with reading in Mahaska County will soon have three full-time AmeriCorps members to help them. The tutors, part of the Iowa Reading Corps, will work one-on-one with Kindergarten through 3rd grade children who need extra help to develop their reading skills.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service last week approved more than $2.5 million in federal AmeriCorps Grants and Education Awards, $16,000 in federal Volunteer Generation Fund Grants, and $279,000 in state funded RSVP Grants, that together will leverage and support approximately 10,000 community volunteers and 110 AmeriCorps State members who will provide direct support to thousands of local nonprofits, schools and communities throughout Iowa.
Funding for 25 of those AmeriCorps members have been assigned to Iowa Reading Corps, which started last year with the goal of making all Iowa students proficient in reading by third grade. The daily tutoring time can have a huge impact on a student’s reading ability, putting him or her on track for future success.

AmeriCorps tutors will use scripted literacy interventions and will conduct weekly progress monitoring to ensure the student is on track to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The member will also spend time participating in community engagement activities.

Last year, through a partnership with the United Way of Mahaska County, Oskaloosa Elementary School had two full-time tutors. Oskaloosa has been awarded two members again for the 2014-2015 school year and North Mahaska Elementary School has been awarded one member.

“We know that a student who is not reading proficiently by third grade is four times more likely to not graduate high school,” said Amy Langdon, executive director of United Way of Mahaska County. “But if we can help that kid early, get them reading at grade level, we’re putting them on a path to success for the rest of their life.”

The hiring process has begun for the three local positions. Prospective Iowa Reading Corps members can go to www.uwiowa.org/IowaReadingCorps to apply or for more information or contact Amy Langdon at United Way of Mahaska County at 641.673.6043.

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