AmeriCorps' Future Teacher's Literacy Corps is a program where teacher assistants can earn money for school by volunteering their time to improving students reading skills.
Those who take part in the program must complete 1,700 hours of service to earn about $4,000. That money can be used to pay for past school loans or for future classes.
"Teacher assistants may apply to receive a grant award for community service. These are teacher assistants that are employed with local school and Head Start agencies," said Bobbie Gilkey, special projects director.
Teacher assistants can take part in this program for two years. Each year they must complete the 1,700 hours of service to earn money for school. The idea is to help teacher assistants become certified teachers to make up for the teacher shortage.
"Well, it would give the Teacher Assistants the opportunity to go back to school and thereby become certified classroom teachers," said Frednia Perkins, coordinator for F.T.L.C., "thus, helping to eliminate the teacher shortage in Mississippi."
The teacher assistants will use the Special Ten Tutoring program. They identify 10 students who are reading on the lowest level and then tutor them four times a week to help them improve.
Brenda Baker says she could see a great improvement in the reading skills of the students she helped.
"I sure can. We are a level 5 and we have been for the past two or three years. She (the principal) really encourages us to catch those that are behind and gives us time to work with them," said Baker, a participant for the second year.
In 2003, AmeriCorps members taught or tutored almost 500,000 students nationwide. For more information, you may contact the Department of Education.