BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Four days a week you'll find Schuyler Baas drilling effective communication skills, English and writing at SouthTech Academy in Boynton Beach.
"I think AmeriCorps serves as sort of a safeguard for America's at-risk populations," Baas said. "So that's what we're here doing so every child can succeed in life."
Skills she said these students use every day that, as they age, will only increase.
"From cosmetology to mechanical school to nursing or whatever they do, they'll be prepared," Baas said.
Since September 2020, Baas has served as a Literacy AmeriCorps member focused on improving the literacy rate of Palm Beach County children. SouthTech school principal Eileen Turenne said the graduation rate is proof it works.
"Prior to the pandemic taking its toll, we were at 98.5% for two years in a row, which put us at the top of the school district of Palm Beach County," Turenne said. "Our AmeriCorps reaches out to our struggling students and works with them one-by-one so they can reach their graduation requirement."
Kristin Calder is CEO for the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. She's actively taking applications for the next approximately 40 recent college grads with a passion for civil service in education, disaster response, health, public safety and the environment.
"It's a full-time commitment," Calder said. "It's 40 hours a week, plus community service on the weekends. It's really meaningful job experience that transforms the lives they're working with, but transforming their own."
Members complete a service year from August through June that includes working at their service site for four days, COVID-19 vaccination efforts or disaster preparedness training on Fridays and community service on the weekends.
"They may be working with Habitat for Humanity or Adopt a Family, so they are really giving all of themselves to make a difference in Palm Beach County, and it benefits the entire community," Calder said.
"I'm always thinking what's next," Baas added.
Literacy AmeriCorps is a project of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. To learn more, click here.