WIU-QC Awarded $100,000+ Grant for AmeriCorps School Mentoring Program
December 12, 2013
MOLINE, IL — An AmeriCorps program to help Quad Cities pre-school readiness is in place in the region thanks to a grant recently awarded to Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Serve Illinois Commission, WIU-QC has received $106,400 as an "AmeriCorps State Formula" award for the 2013-14 program year.
According to Joe Rives, vice president for the Quad Cities and planning at WIU, the grant will be used to fund a program through which WIU-QC students will serve as AmeriCorps volunteers, who will follow PBS's "Ready to Learn" model. The volunteers will work closely with local teachers to advance the community's goal of increasing local elementary and secondary school retention and graduation rates.
Each AmeriCorps member is focused on expanding and improving literacy skills for children at risk for failure, as well as under-served young children in the Quad Cities area. The 15-member team each reads stories to the children and plans simple activities expanding on the theme of the book.
According to Mary Pruess, the director of WQPT, the grant is an opportunity to expand WQPT's existing "Ready to Learn" program, which has given more than 118,000 books to area children over the past 18 years.
"The WIU-QC/WQPT AmeriCorps members are creating lasting memories and empowering the children to achieve success in life," noted Scott Brouette, WIU-QC assistant director of student services.
A team of WIU-QC personnel—including Rives; Kristi Mindrup, assistant vice president for the Quad Cities and planning at WIU; Lindsay Fender, assistant to the vice president; and Gary Rowe, the WIU-QC development director—applied for the grant after their conversations with local schools, social service agencies and city officials from the Quad Cities area.
"What these conversations showed is that Western Illinois University has a strong background in supporting student success, and we feel it is our social responsibility to engage in a community partnership such as this. This program will also help WIU-QC students in the development of their individual levels of personal growth, as well as help them take full advantage of their educational opportunities offered through WIU-QC," Rives said. "We are proud to receive this grant to the benefit of our region and are very grateful for the generosity and trust shown by Illinois Department of Human Services and the Serve Illinois Commission to Western Illinois University."
The AmeriCorps Early Childhood Literacy Program at WQPT/WIU-QC is seeking local Illinois Early Childhood Programs for placement of AmeriCorps volunteers who will be implementing the PBS "Ready to Learn" program, as well as other strategies, to promote greater literacy skills for early childhood students.
If your early childhood program is interested in hosting AmeriCorps volunteers, contact Brouette via email at S-Brouette@wiu.edu.