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10/5/2012 - Jackson, Miss.

Earlier today, 363 America Reads-Mississippi (ARM) AmeriCorps members took the AmeriCorps pledge to “Get Things Done” for the 2012- 2013 program year.

The ARM program started its 15th year of service as a well known literacy-focused national service program. ARM was established in 1998 through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The program is designed to help improve the reading skills of students; encourage public awareness and support for literacy, and help to increase the number of certified teachers in Mississippi.

“Our ARM tutors are an essential part of making our students successful learners,” said Faye Brown, Assistant Principal and ARM Site Supervisor at Jefferson County Elementary School.

ARM AmeriCorps members serve full time as “Tutors With A Mission,” providing reading tutoring to students in grades 1-3 in 75 partnering elementary and primary schools. ARM members tutor an average of 4,000 students (12 students per member) each day (before, during, and after school). ARM helps strengthen communities through service projects like the 9-11 Day of Remembrance, MLK Day of Service, and Read Across America Day, and engages school children in service-learning through participation in Jr. Citizen Corps Clubs and youth-led projects for Global Youth Service Day.

For 2011-2012, ARM members planned and implemented various local community service projects and recruited 295,106 volunteers who served 790,701 hours with projects that addressed school and community needs.

AmeriCorps requires educational and professional development for Corps members through regular training sponsored by ARM and program partners. Additionally, full-time members who complete the required 1,700 hours of service earn the Segal Education Award, valued at $5,550. Members use the education award toward the cost of attending college. Eighty-three percent of Corps members plan to attend college to become certified teachers. Many former ARM members have been hired in the schools where they once served as AmeriCorps members.

ARM maintains strong partnerships with six Mississippi public universities with regional offices located on the campuses of Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi, engaging ARM members in the campus community on the regular basis.

ARM is administered and supported by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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