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Return To Succes StoriesAmeriCorps Volunteer Erin Blair Mentors Students at Jackson Park through Tutoring

Erin AmeriCorps
KCR AmeriCorps member Erin Blair approaches her work at Jackson Park Elementary with the same passion and dedication as though the children she teaches were her own. Through her previous experience at a daycare, she enjoyed her role as a playmate, homework tutor, and confidant, and she discovered that she should pursue a career in childhood education.

Erin realized that the AmeriCorps program offered her the opportunity to gain teaching experience and an education credit to help pay for an Associate’s Degree.

In her role as a volunteer paraeducator through AmeriCorps, Erin has opened the eyes and minds of several struggling students. Each day she works with small groups of students to challenge them and assist them in improving their reading skills. Every week she conducts an assessment to determine where to focus and where they have improved.

“If kids think that you think they’re great, that’s how they act. It’s amazing to see what a difference your perceptions make. It’s all about self-confidence.”

“This is the best job I have ever had. With this experience, I would feel confident about walking into any classroom. AmeriCorps offers people a second chance to pursue something that for whatever reason they have not.”

In addition to her daily volunteer role, Erin participates in monthly service projects with the other KCR AmeriCorps members.

“You’re a team, and you get the opportunity to build relationships that otherwise would never occur. It’s amazing how much stuff we get done, for the betterment of our community. I want to use my hands for good works, and we get the opportunity to do that here.”

In an essay on her experience, Erin wrote this about one boy who had a propensity for bullying, after he helped her read to some of the younger kids:

“I told him he should be a reading teacher. And he believes I think that about him, because that’s what I get to see when I’m looking at him, and he lives up to it, because he’s free to BELIEVE it too. I love my job.”

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