AmeriCorps grads honored
AmeriCorps member Kristy Troncozo enjoys the moment, receiving graduation honors and rewards for her work tutoring students at Almond Tree Middle School in Delano
Maybe the test of how well a program works is when its graduates volunteer to come back for another year. That certainly is the case for many of those who graduated from the AmeriCorps Central Valley Communities for Children program on August 26 at the Bakersfield City School District Auditorium.
"All the hard work was well worth it," said Dorothy Belk, who spent her year with AmeriCorps tutoring children at Fremont School in Bakersfield. "I learned a lot this year, and I've enjoyed the children so much. That's why I'm coming back for a second year."
Forty AmeriCorps members graduated after spending the 2004-05 school year tutoring 1,177 students in Bakersfield, Delano, Lamont, Shafter and Taft. Graduates also helped organize and participated in service projects to improve those communities. Most tutored selected students in reading and math, while others served as mentors to improve self-discipline and school attendance. Community service projects included neighborhood cleanups, children's activities and literacy events.
A visibly smiling Elizabeth McKnight, who tutored students at Roosevelt School in Taft, was still savoring the moment, minutes after the graduation ceremonies concluded. "This was a nice evening," she said. "I think everyone felt good about all they did for the students and in the community."
More than 200 people attended the graduation ceremonies. Included among them was Monte Albalos, coordinator of the Shafter Neighborhood Partnership, who gave the keynote address. Representatives from the offices of Congressman Jim Costa, and State Senators Roy Ashburn and Dean Florez also paid tribute to the "outstanding work" performed by the graduates.
AmeriCorps members serve full-time, during the school year, earning a modest living allowance. Upon completing a year of service, each receives an education award of $4,725 to help pay for college. The AmeriCorps Central Valley Communities for Children program is administered by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools with funding from the Corporation for National Service.
One AmeriCorps member, Mary Aldaco, who just completed her second tour with AmeriCorps, was feeling a little melancholy as the evening ended. "I've really enjoyed my time in AmeriCorps," Aldaco said. "It's the best job I've ever had, and it's sad to know it's over." Aldaco tutored students at Redwood Elementary in Shafter.
For more information about The AmeriCorps Central Valley Communities for Children program check the Web site, http://kcsos.kern.org/schcom/AmeriCorps.
2004-05 AmeriCorps Central Valley Communities for Children Graduates
Maria C. Perez
Print This Page Email This Page