Currently Serving AmeriCorps VISTA Members
These AmeriCorps VISTA Members are a valued part of our team:
Keondralayer Estell-Sasfrass, Reading Program Developer AmeriCorps Member, Red Door Urban Missions
I serve with the AmeriCorps program because I am on a mission to reach the youth. I will create a lasting impression on those who have come to know me as a person but most importantly as an educational leader. I want to reach the families and children in the community to show them that I believe in them and their future because they can be anything they dream of in this life as long as they apply themselves. When I look back on my VISTA journey, I want to say my farewells knowing that I was invested in my craft enough to have done everything I could for the families and children I met along the way. If I were thinking about my future self later on in life, looking back on my life I want the families and children to remember me most as the educational leader that was dedicated, committed, patient, loving, trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair, and caring.
Kimberly Bouchard, Reading Program Developer AmeriCorps Member, Literacy Mid-South
My passion is for all aspects of education, but especially for literacy and numeracy, because these are the bedrock of all other learning. I serve with AmeriCorps VISTA through Literacy Mid-South, because I know from experience how literacy skills can open endless possibilities to an individual. I want to invest in my new community in ways that will make a lasting difference in children’s lives. My heart has always been to empower learners who struggle with some aspect of the learning process. Whether it’s tutoring students who struggled to pass the state exam, working with young people who were challenged by reading tasks because they had dyslexia, working with English learners in the U.S. and overseas, or empowering English teachers in other countries through targeted professional development, finding the keys to unlock someone’s learning and confidence is what drives me. Every child is precious and unique. Every child has something important to offer their community and the world. Every child deserves a chance to pursue their dreams, even if they don’t know what those are yet. I want to contribute to their life adventure.
Teresa Hasan-Kerr, Literacy Volunteer AmeriCorps Member, YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South
I serve because literacy has been a tool paramount to my own empowerment, and it can make a difference in my city. I’ve seen that personally and statistically, there are many people in Memphis who can benefit from stronger literacy skills. That means there are individuals who can have a better quality of life, provided the right support. Everyone’s story is different. I moved a lot growing up and missed a lot of school. There were times when I was in a gifted program and there were times when my reading comprehension was below average. However, I did get the support I needed. Later, summers spent in libraries were my entire world and I loved it! There wasn’t any book I couldn’t read and that confidence carried over to facing other challenges later in life. Developing new skills shows a person that they are capable of facing new information and adapting it to their goals in life. Everyone’s life has value. I firmly believe it’s both possible and important for us all to live empowered lives, so serving is that belief in action.
Sean Moore, Family Literacy Volunteer AmeriCorps Member, Literacy Mid-South
I serve because I believe that community members working together can build a better, more just Memphis for all. Realizing this goal takes work and dedication, but leads to more equitable and cohesive communities, as well as personal growth. Service to Memphis is a way for me to give back to a city that has granted me many opportunities and to work to make those opportunities more accessible to all members of our community.
I am dedicating a year of service to Literacy Mid-South because achieving literacy for all Memphians is a key component of breaking cycles of generational poverty and opening up new opportunities for our neighbors and our city. But I also choose to serve at LMS because the privilege of reading is a foundational part of my life—it is a window into new worlds, an avenue to challenge and console myself, and a source of pure joy. It is an honor to be able to spread the gift of reading in the city I call home.
Mac Hurst, Information Management Team AmeriCorps Member, Literacy Mid-South
Personally, I serve because I love my community. I want to be a part of its growth and success, and want to help make it a great place to live. All children deserve the opportunity to learn to use reading and writing meaningfully in their lives to become literate! A lifelong literacy journey can begin with small but exciting steps as your children experience the thrill of getting lost in a story, or the power of expressing their own ideas in writing.
Learning to read and write is not just about learning new skills. Although it does involve learning skills, literacy is so much more than this. It is about learning to use reading and writing in real and important ways. When we help children and adults become readers and writers, we give them the key to a worldwide community. But, this does not happen overnight and we need to help spark their literacy, and then keep it going by inspiring and encouraging them. Being an apart of Literacy Mid-South provides me the opportunity to make a positive impact on the children and adults in the communities, while at the same time working toward a long term systemic change.