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November 4, 2016

Siblings who serve together, grow together

AmeriCorps members learn about Reading Partners and the opportunity to serve in a number of places. Some learn about our service opportunities through college boards, others by volunteering or even through a simple Google search. Others, however, are introduced to AmeriCorps service through a more personal channel. This year, 61 of our AmeriCorps members were referred to serve through an incoming or currently serving AmeriCorps member—and a few of those folks happen to be related.

Eean & Erin are lit-loving leaders

Eean, an AmeriCorps site coordinator, began his service this year in Baltimore. He felt that AmeriCorps was an opportunity to serve his community, and saw the Reading Partners program as the best chance to serve students in need. As an AmeriCorps site coordinator, Eean runs a reading center—leading the full-time program coordination, operations, and relationship development of the Reading Partners program at his assigned school. In less than a month, Eean referred his sister Erin to an AmeriCorps literacy lead role in the same region.

“I knew that Erin would be perfect for this role,” Eean said, “she has a ton of experience working with and serving students in need.”

As an AmeriCorps literacy lead, Erin provides direct tutoring support to Reading Partners students in Baltimore who benefit from  more individualized instruction.

Erin, who is familiar with different educational programs in Baltimore City schools, said her interest was piqued by the focus on literacy.

“The literacy lead role stood out to me, because I’ve always wanted to be in an environment where the focus was literacy, and not have an entire classroom to manage,” said Erin, “It’s a perfect fit!”

Photo on 11-1-16 at 12.27 PM #3 (1)

Though being on the same team as Eean is a new experience, Erin isn’t unfamiliar with working with family. She previously worked alongside her middle brother, Taj, at Tench Tilgham Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City, first as recess coordinators and then as educational assistants.

“It’s actually pretty cool to have the same opportunity as my baby brother,” said Erin, “I’m excited that he’s engaging himself in the work I’ve been dedicated to for years. Just by listening to Eean’s experiences at his reading center, I can tell Reading Partners is having an impact on the way he views how important literacy is for children of all ages.”

Eean highlighted some of his own perks of serving alongside Erin.

“It’s really great to see my sister on team training days!” Eean said, “We get to share success stories and challenges, and it helps AmeriCorps feel a bit more like family.”

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Erin and Eean aren’t the only sibling pair to serve with the Reading Partners AmeriCorps team. Lakendra and LaTrina Woods are both serving as AmeriCorps literacy leads with Reading Partners North Texas.

LaTrina & Lakendra serve in schools close to home

LaTrina has been involved with Reading Partners since 2013 and had originally started as an hourly literacy intervention tutor (LIT). She had toyed with the idea of joining the team as an AmeriCorps member, but hesitated since she’s also a part-time student at the University of Texas and wasn’t sure she could commit to a full 11 months of service.

Ultimately, she decided to join the team for two reasons: to serve her community and earn the Segal Education Award to apply towards her education. After a few weeks of service, LaTrina’s supervisor asked if her sister, Lakendra, would be interested in joining the team.

While she was still a LIT, LaTrina had previously spoken of her ability to make a difference in a child’s life through Reading Partners, and recruited Lakendra to sign up to tutor with her. After LaTrina’s supervisor mentioned that a few AmeriCorps roles were still open, Lakendra spoke with her sister about the AmeriCorps literacy lead opportunity.

“Lakendra is not only my favorite sister,” said LaTrina, “she’s a person I look up to when I’m in need of help—I figured the AmeriCorps literacy Lead would be a great fit for her.”

After determining whether the sisters could serve in school sites close to home, Lakendra and LaTrina are now serving together with the North Texas team, allowing them to be part of a literacy movement together.

“Serving together has changed my view on the community, because I didn’t realize how many children were lacking reading skills,” said LaTrina, “I’m excited to help Reading Partners grow across North Texas.”  

Are you interested in serving your community? Our 2017-18 AmeriCorps applications open on 11/8/16, and you can email us at americorps@readingpartners.org with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Americorps

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