2011 lc newsletter


Published on

First Edition of LeaderCorps Ledger. Alumni feature.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

2011 lc newsletter

  1. 1. L eadercorps Illinois Leadercorps edger Newsletter February 2011 The book my partner and I were assigned was My dad and me and I was supposed to act the part of the daddy bear. It was fun to act silly and get the kids to smile and read along. After story time Ms. Hall led the kids around the room singing songs while the rest of us handed out the grab bags and raffled off special gifts that were donated by the generous people of our great city.“I have a dream” World Doing Good ForDillion Elementary School Those In Need p.6“You could hear the cheering, laughing, and hornshonking for at least 4 blocks. It was a sight Iwill never forget. People dancing, skipping,cheering, and laughing. It was hard to Bellvillebelieve that a group of strangers (young and Dialouge onold) could come together as one. It almost seemed Race andas though the roles had reversed. All the inner- Diversitychild had come out in every adult and all the p.4responsible-adult had come out in the youth.”Day of Peace and Goodwill in Logan Square p. 5 LVI Members Showing Americorps Project YES! Workshops Pride p. 3 In This Issue: MLK Around the State 3 Alumni Spotlight 7 Leadercorps Conference 9 Leadercorps Bios 10
  2. 2. This newsletter is a publication of the 2010-2011 Leadercorps Marketing ComitteeAll content in this newsletter was submitted by Leadercorps members and is printedwith permission from individual programs. Leadercorps is not responsible for anyreprint or reuse of this material without permission.
  3. 3. As LVI members chopped, stirred, tasted and tried ever so hard to get that giant pot of water to finally boil, guests kept sniffing at the fragrances that spilled from the centrally located kitchen and wondering when they would finally get to taste the spoils of VOCAL members hard work. Before that pleasure arrived, however, members Ellen Werner and Ryan Deringer led the interactive workshop on interviewing tips and preparedness that they had put together. Shelter guests who participated in the workshop kept up a lively discussion throughout, asking great questions, giving one another advice, and participating in the workshop with insight and enthusiasm that exceeded our expectations. Resume writing and job board resources as well as practice employment applications were distributed, LVI members preparing Lasagna as well as a hearty thanks to the workshop presentersLasagna and Literacy before volunteers and guests alike sat down together to enjoy the delicious lasagna, green salad, andUnder softly falling snow, eight VOCAL chicken and rice prepared by a wonderful volunteer,members in purple t-shirts were welcomed Charlotte, who saw an online posting of the projectthrough the red door of the basement entrance and came along to join.of Lincoln Park Community Shelter, underLincoln Park Presbyterian Church. Although LVI members reflected that they were humbledI had spoken with the good people who work by the drive and motivation of the shelter guests,to make the shelter such an inviting place, I who had all landed there after falling on some verydidnt expect to be greeted by the smells of difficult times in their lives, but who were all soonions sauting and warm smiles from the positive and open to change. Before leaving in theshelter guests who worked in the computer afternoon, I was practically begged to sit down withlab, read books at tables scattered around a couple gentlemen who were working together onthe living area, or watched TV on comfy some algebra homework from a class one of themcouches. VOCAL member Beth Hausler had was taking, so I finished my service day with a littlealready begun cooking the feast, and I am old GED small group tutoring, as any good VOCALsure our meal would not have been so easily member would.prepared and greatly enjoyed come lunchtime had she not acted as the organizer who -Chrissy Rubykept everything moving.Page 3
  4. 4. The Belleville AmeriCorps and the 17th Street Neighborhood Association invited the community to bridge social barriers by discussing race in honor or Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. "This event is an opportunity to talk honestly and compassionately with your neighbors about race," Mandy Guinn, Belleville AmeriCorps director, stated. "This is a great chance for people in the community to get together and share their honest feelings and concerns. Our hope is to inspire some thought-provoking discussion and start 2011 with a commitment to creating a stronger community." The free event was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at West Junior High School, and included activities for all ages, lunch and an opportunity to participate in canned food and coat drives. (Story: Courtsey of Bellville News-Democrat Submitted by: Ben Taylor) Bellville Discussion on Race and DiversityThe participants of the MLK day of service "Whats Going On?" learned anarray of information about the dangers of teen dating violence. Participantsalso gained insight from a panel of individuals that included administrators ofdomestic violence shelters and actual victims of dating violence. The open-paneldiscussion allowed students to pose questions, broadening their perspective andenlightening them of the seriousness of teen dating violence.-Chrena Douglass Panel of Experts on Domestic Violence
  5. 5. VOYCE working with LSNA Staff, AmeriCorpsMembers, and volunteers planned a day of Peaceand Goodwill in Logan Square. They held threeworkshops that focused on getting to know eachother, recognizing what MLK has done in hislifetime to address racism and affect change,and if his life work continues today.The day began with VOYCE members welcomingeveryone who came out on such a cold day andthe reading of a letter written by Coretta Scott Youth from VOYCEKing. After that a few rounds of “Guess the For the people that did accept hot chocolate andLeader” was played. After that everyone broke cookies from the groups they found it hard tointo groups. While the groups were going on believe that they didn’t have to pay for it. TheseAmeriCorps members went to make mexican hot people were told that the only payment thatchocolate from scratch. I was skeptical at first, would be accepted was a SMILE. I have neverbut I tried it.................It was delicious!!! By the seen that many people walking by with a smiletime the members had the hot chocolate ready to in their faces in my life. So many people truelybe served everyone was ending their workshops. appreciated the genuine act of kindness. The day ended with a large recap and talk circle with aVOYCE members, LSNA Staff, AmeriCorps teddy bear as the talking stick, the entire groupmembers, and Volunteers hit the street. The hot singing “Happy Birthday” to MLK, and sliceschocolate, cookies, and quotes were to be passed of birthday cake being passed out as a way ofout a specific areas within walking distance saying “Thank You” to all that had participatedof each other. You could hear the cheering, in making the project a success.laughing, and horns honking for at least 4blocks. It was a sight I will never forget. People - Loretha Y. Edwardsdancing, skipping, cheering, and laughing.It was hard to believe that a group of strangers(young and old) could come together as one. Italmost seemed as though the roles had reversed.All the inner-child had come out in every adultand all the responsible-adult had come out inthe youth. Americorps making Mexican Hot ChocolatePage 5 Multigenerational gatherings
  6. 6. REACHING OUT TO THOSE IN NEEDOn January 17, 2011 members of UIC Project MORE(Making Opportunities for Reading Enrichment),together with volunteers from other Americorpsprograms and residents of Chicago, showed up tovarious shelters around the city to shine a light onthe importance of literacy in our children’s lives.The members of the FLO (Family Literacy Office)office organized and prepared hundreds of readingmaterials that would be handed out to the families onthe 17th. Members at FAST (Family Start LearningCenter) West and South Centers prepared donationboxes for patrons to drop off donations such as non-perishable food items, clothes and toiletries.MLK Day arrived and there was a general sense ofpurpose as many of the volunteers were anxious to getout and start helping. Everyone was split into groupsand assigned a specific shelter. The group I was apart of was sent to a shelter not too far away fromthe starting point. When we got there we were told toset up in a specific room and we started preparing allthe materials to be handed out as well as assigning Shopping for food in the Pantrystories to read to members of our group. Once our time with the families was up it wasWhen the families finally arrived our group sad to say goodbye but knowing the kidswelcomed everyone with smiles and stickers for the enjoyed the activities and that the parentskids. Our group leader, Shilanda Hall, quickly got loved seeing their kids play and read was verythe parents’ attention and let them know we were heartwarming. We said our goodbyes andthere to honor Dr. King’s legacy and to be there for proceeded to go back to our starting point. I waseach other. The kids were restless but were quickly vey moved and touched by what our group didushered and asked to sit down for story time. The that day but it was also incredibly inspiring tobook my partner and I were assigned was My dad hear stories from the rest of our members aboutand me and I was supposed to act the part of the the sites they visited. In the end we all agreeddaddy bear. It was fun to act silly and get the kids that we enriched these kids lives today into smile and read along. After story time Ms. Hall some form or another. They are very importantled the kids around the room singing songs while because they represent future generations andthe rest of us handed out the grab bags and raffled we have to take great care to keep reading andoff special gifts that were donated by the generous learning an important fixture in their lives nopeople of our great city. matter the circumstances. -Mario Valles Page 6
  7. 7. Alumni Spotlight: Chamala T. Travis Ms. Travis 1994-1995 Ms. Travis TodayThroughout the rest of the program year, the Alumni Committee will be spotlighting one AmeriCorpsAlumni in each Leader Ledger. This way, we will get to see a few of the many possible paths incareer and in life that have opened up for Alumni once they complete their year of service. Our firstspotlight is Alumni Committee Chairperson Chrissy Rubys own program coordinator. Yes, it mayhave been an easy alum to track down, but Ms. Chamala Travis story shows how a year of servicecan really pay off, and shape your future too.1. When were you an AmeriCorps member and what program where you with?I served two program years; the first year was the introductory year that former President Bill Clintonintroduced AmeriCorps in the United States - 1994-95 with Latin Youth in Chicago. My secondyear was with Literacy Volunteers of Illinois - Volunteer Outreach for Community Action in Literacy(VOCAL) AmeriCorps Program in 2004-2005.2. What are you doing now?I am currently the VOCAL AmeriCorps Program Coordinator for Literacy Volunteers of IL. I appliedfor the position and assumed duties after my year ended.built relationships with from my service year at the Blue Gargoyle call on me from time to time tohelp them with anything from completing applications to transporting them anywhere in the stateto attend conferences.Page 7
  8. 8. 3. Did your experience in AmeriCorps have an impact on the direction you have taken yourcareer?As an AmeriCorps member we are exposed to many experiences. Having worked with so manydifferent individuals along the way gave me a broader perspective on service and community. Myexperience with Latino Youth allowed me to work alongside Latin Americans in the Pilsen-LittleVillage neighborhood where I would not ordinarily have considered working. I found that they hadsimilar issues in their community as did mine and that they reached out to surrounding communitiesto come up with solutions to basic human needs. During my service with VOCAL I was exposed toindividuals not only from different backgrounds and nationalities but I also interacted with men andwomen with more life experience and various abilities. I developed deep friendships with my fellowVOCAL members as well as the students and staff at my host site, The Blue Gargoyle.4. What about your service is most memorable to you?There are many memorable moments, in particular my team leader; Nia Dickett suggested that wevisit one anothers site so that we could experience for a day what it was like to be placed at thatorganization. She came to the Southside of Chicago to the Blue Gargoyle and my students lovedher. Maybe its because she has such a great attitude and heart. In turn I visited her site on theNorthside, the Albany Park Community Center and was amazed at the mix of nationalities andethnicities who receive ESL, Citizenship and other services.5. What would you advise to current members?My advice to current members is that while it is important to serve be it in literacy, the environmentor whatever area of National Service you choose - be sure to READ everything and learn about whathas been done before you became a member instead of going right in, "to change things". It is betterto learn and know the basics first. Believe me, you are in for a rude surprise if you dont learn yourenvironment first.6. Are you currently involved with volunteerism and service?My community is very important to me and I am involved in every area that will help to makelives safe and add opportunities for growth including education and sustainability. There is anorganization called New Readers for New Life Illinois and a few of my former students who Ivebuilt relationships with from my service year at the Blue Gargoyle call on me from time to time tohelp them with anything from completing applications to transporting them anywhere in the stateto attend conferences.7. If you were a superhero, who would you be?Jesus, because he could do it all ! Page 8
  9. 9. The 2010 LeaderCorps FallConference was the first meetingof members of AmeriCorps,AmeriCorps VISTA and PeaceCorps Fellows in Springfield.After learning about one anotherand our individual projects, thefocus turned to how we could worktogether and benefit one another. Dale Evans and LeadercorpsR. Dale Evans, Sr. from the A From a survey of Leadercorps the top five thingsBoost Up Coalition, Inc. was a great of the conference:host who gave an inspirationalpresentation focused on the 1. Meeting everyone and learning about theirLeaderCorps members using their past accomplishments and future goals.talents and leadership qualities toserve their programs to the best of 2. Making music in the Drum Circle.their abilities. 3. Dale Evans.Participants chose betweencommittees of Alumni, Marketing 4. Finding support and ideas from like mindedand Day of Service. Each committee individuals that have similar experiences.started to work on their focus areaswith many quick ideas before the 5. Professional skills such as business cards,end of the two meeting days. talking with people about projects, and plan implementation.The like-minded leaders made bigplans for their MLK 2011 serviceprojects for each program and howto make the most of publicizingthe events and getting volunteersto participate in the serviceprograms.-Aaron TebrinklePage 9 Encouraging Scott to participate in the Drum Circle
  10. 10. Meet Your Leaders Whitney Allen is the LeaderCorps representative from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which is the food bank serving Cook County, Illinois. She is a second year AmeriCorps member who serves as the Food Pantry Supervisor at Marillac Social Center on the West Side of Chicago. Since joining Marillac, she has helped transform the pantry from simply handing out pre-packed bags of canned goods to a personalized shopping experience that empowers clients to make their own nutrition choices. Allen grew up in Oak Park, Illinois and continues to live in the area. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and majored in Sociology/Anthropology. She is passionate about social justice and plans to pursue a career in social work or public health. Outside of work, Allen enjoys spending time with family and friends and learning how to make delicious vegetarian dishes.Aaron Tebrinke graduated in 1998 from Red Oak High School in Red Oak, Iowa. Aftergraduating from Missouri Western with a degree in Commercial Art in 2002 he worked in manycreative fields including publishing in Kansas City, MO and audio engineering in Chicago, IL.In Beardstown, IL he has contributed as a newspaper correspondent for the Cass County StarGazette since 2007.Aaron’s AmeriCorps service started in 2009 to help set up a GIS (geographic informationsystem) program for the City of Beardstown in Cass County, IL. This is Aaron’s second yearserving as an AmeriCorps VISTA.Aaron serves directly, and by training volunteers in the community. He is using the GISprogram for disaster response, tourism, public infrastructure systems, and countless othermapping services for community service organizations.Aaron’s service in the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs MAPPING program is helpingeliminate poverty in Beardstown by improving the process of economic development. Jennifer Foster was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from University of Illinois Champaign Urbana in 2009 with a dual degree in Communications and Spanish. Jennifer’s interest in AmeriCorps started in college after interacting with various AmeriCorps members and programs. This is Jennifer’s second year serving with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago AmeriCorps Safe Families Program. She began serving in September 2009 and found it so rewarding decided to sign on for another year. As an AmeriCorps Safe Families member Jennifer brings American Red Cross health and safety programs to underserved and under resourced communities in the 7 counties surrounding Chicago. Jennifer serves directly in Lake, Cook, and DuPage counties. Jennifer works to educate her communities on how to prevent, prepare, and respond to disasters. Page 10
  11. 11. Madelyne Z. Greene, a Chicagoland native, serves as an AmeriCorps Member at PCC Community Wellness Center on Chicago’s west side. Madelyne is a recent graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where she studied Women’s and Gender Studies and was a pre-medical student. She hopes to pursue a career in health care, maintaining a commitment to service and volunteerism through community health initiatives. The PCC AmeriCorps team works in conjunction with PCC’s comprehensive care and support services as Healthy Lifestyle Coaches, who educate patients and community members about healthy eating, activity and setting goals, and as Breastfeeding peer counselors, who provide information and support to new mothers. AmeriCorps members educate and promote healthy lifestyles through one-on-one coaching, group classes, and after-school programs.Born and raised in Cabrini Green, Loretha Y. Edwards is a born fighter. She has lived inChicago, Waukegan, North Chicago, Woodridge, and Lisle She has won several awardsfor Speech, Poetry, and other writings. She has worked for many companies in her lifetimeincluding, Motorola and the Lake County Urban League.Through the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) she has worked for the ParentMentor Program and Parent Tutor at Funston Elementary School. This is her first year asan AmeriCorps member, and serves on the Communications and Marketing Committee as aLeaderCorps member.She has laid out a clear goal of becoming an Elementary School Teacher. She is currentlypursuing her AAS in Child Development. After completion she will pursue her BA in Education,and will continue plans to gain her Master’s in Education and English-Literature. Alexis is from San Antonio, Tx. After graduating high school, Alexis attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a degree in government and a minor in Spanish. Throughout high school and college, Alexis has traveled with a group called Los Quijotes from San Antonio, Tx. Los Quijotes’ mission is to provide free medical services to the underserved, impoverished communities of Oaxaca, Mexico. This experience is part of what has inspired her to continue to serve the community. Alexis is currently serving her second year as an AmeriCorps member at West Suburban PADS as a case manager for a transitional housing program. In this position she works with homeless families and individuals, helping them to become self sufficient with a goal of housing stability. After completing her second year with AmeriCorps, Alexis plans on going back to school to pursue a degree in nursing.Page 11
  12. 12. Mario is originally from Dallas, TX but was raised on the south side of Chicago. Mario is a graduate of Northside College Prep, class of 2002. Upon graduation he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he majored in Spanish. His volunteer experience includes working in citizenship workshops hosted by SWOP (South- west Organizing Project), marching for immigration reform in Washington D.C., built his own computer after volunteering his time and services at Free Geek Chicago and has volunteered at a few music festivals around the city. Valles is currently serving his first year as an AC member at the Chicago Center for Early Edu- cation at Malcolm X College. CCEE is a free resource center that strives to enrich the quality of early education by providing a wide range of multimedia materials on early childhood issues from birth to age 8.Christine is a member of Literacy Volunteers of Illinois’ VOCAL AmeriCorps program duringprogram year 2010-2011. She joins LVI as the communications, marketing, and resourcedevelopment go-to girl, and also as a tutor in the Jump Start program at Illinois Youth Centers-Chicago.Determined to embrace every opportunity during her AmeriCorps year of service, Christinehas joined the Chicago North Side Literacy Coalition for which she acts as secretary. She isalso striving to use the privilege of being a part of LeaderCorps Illinois, where she is chair ofthe Alumni Committee, to expand the community of service both locally and nationally.Christine holds the B.A. of English from the University of New Mexico and has a strongbackground in communications and creative writing. She joins LVI to spread her empoweringpassion for reading, writing and education with those LVI serves and beyond. Farrah Keong is a second-year AmeriCorps member serving with the Illinois Public Health Association. She is placed at the DuPage County Health Department where she works in the Community Health Services Department. This past year, she completed her first term with AmeriCorps as a VISTA member working for Our Piece of the Pie (OPP), a youth development agency, in Hartford, CT. There she worked at OPP’s newly established high school-Opportunity High-where she helped to develop a Job Readiness Training curriculum and program. Farrah was born in South Africa and lived there until she was 11 years old, when her family moved to America. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Biology, Art History, and Latin. While at UGA, Farrah developed a passion for community service, working with local non-profits and community agencies. She hopes to return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health. Page 12
  13. 13. Judy Torres is currently a second year Peace Corps Fellow at Western Illinois University. She is currently working to obtain her M.S. in Recreation Park Tourism Administration. Judy is serving in Savanna Illinois with the Tri-County Economic Development Alliance as the LOIS Administrator. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from Feb 2007- July 2009. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2006. She’s originally from Pilsen a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois and is extremely proud of her culture and community.Nathan Harold currently works with Alternatives, Inc. in Chicago. He mentors high schoolstudents in Uplift Community High School, coordinates college readiness, and works on afterschool programming. He also plans college events, collaborating with other non-profits, andMidwest colleges and universities.Harold received his BA in English from the University of Connecticut. He previously servedas an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Department of Education in Hawaii. His work there includedbuilding volunteer networks for underperforming schools.Alternatives, Inc. is a non-profit based in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood that guides youthtoward positive futures by offering development programs and counseling.Alternatives also offers Girl World, a community development program run by young women;Connect Force, a hip hop teaching consortium; Restorative Justice, teaching youths how tosolve conflicts; Keepin’ it Real, a substance abuse and prevention program; and Wicked Truth/Media learning workshops teaching digital technology. Braden Latham-Jones currently works at Waukegan High School in Waukegan, Illinois, serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Schuler Scholar Program. Originally from Kankakee, Illinois, Braden was offered a position with Schuler in the fall of 2010 as a Scholar Coach. He works one-on-one with High School students in reading tutoring, facilitates group discussions on writing and ethics, and teaches a seminar on filmmaking. Braden is a graduate of University of Wisconsin – Madison (’09), with a bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film and East Asian Studies. After working in TV and film production in the US for several years, he relocated to Kunming, China where he worked freelance as a video journalist. A year later, Braden moved back to the U.S.A. to begin his work with AmeriCorps, and with the Schuler Scholar Program. The Schuler Scholar Program is a college access program which works to send high-achieving, motivated high school students to highly selective colleges and universities across the nation. For more information or partnership opportunities please visit The Schuler Scholar Program web site.Page 13
  14. 14. Sonya De La Torre is from Chicago, Ill. This is her second year of service with AmeriCorps. When she was in High School she did her community service at Gads Hill Center, a non-profit organization in Pilsen, Chicago. Ms. De La Torre loves working in non-profit organizations because she likes to help people. Ms. De La Torre now works with the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latinos immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII) as Volunteer Coordinator, recruiting, deploying and supporting volunteers. She is also working at Onward Neighborhood House teaching computer classes to adults. Ms. De La Torre graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and a Minor in Mathematics at Northeastern IL University. Starting in January 2011 she began helping her community and working for her seventh year as a tax professional with H&R Block. Ms. De La Torre plans to go back to school for a Masters Degree in Computer Graphics.Ashley Mauter was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She currently lives in Chicago and servesas the LeaderCorps representative for Project YES!.Ashley attended DePaul University where she studied Psychology and Sociology. Aftergraduating, her passion for working with children lead her to Project YES!. As a program ofthe Northwestern Settlement, Project YES! connects caring adults with youth in and aroundChicago’s West Town community through mentorship, educational, service, artistic, andrecreational activities in order to support their academic achievement, provide them with positivealternatives to destructive behaviors, and foster an ethic of service in the community.Last year Ashley served at Peabody Elementary where she helped tutor and support studentsin the classroom, created after school clubs and planned community service projects for thestudents. This year, as the Program Leader, Ashley serves as a mentor for the 27 Project YES!members and helps to facilitate serving project planning. Caitlin Morris is proud to represent Public Allies Chicago, a leadership and training development program dedicated to strengthening communities, nonprofit organizations and civic participation. Through Public Allies, Caitlin is working with the Rauner Family YMCA to identify interests and needs of current and future members, as well as helping to establish a solid framework for successful programming at the Y. Caitlin is from the Chicago area and is a graduate from The University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Before joining Public Allies, Caitlin spent a year volunteering in The Republic of the Marshall Islands where she taught the English language and core academic subjects to elementary school students and worked towards health, education and community development in the Pacific nation. Page 14
  15. 15. Chris Rowe grew up in Portola Valley, California, a small town nestled in the south of the peninsula that terminates in San Francisco. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. During his education he worked as a high school science tutor and conducted biochemistry research in the Weiss Single Molecular Biophysics Lab. Upon receiving his degree, he moved briefly to London, England to work as a Principal’s Assistant at the diverse and progressive Westminster Academy. After returning to the United States, he worked two years in San Francisco for Accenture, an international business technology consulting firm where his roles ranged from software UI design to project management and spanned multiple industries. After departing from Accenture, he relocated to Chicago, IL to work as an Adult ESL Educator and a Community Health Program Assistant for Asian Human Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing basic health and human services to underserved populations in North Chicago.Devin Helm is a second year AmeriCorps member in the Land of Lincoln Americorps. Sheworks at a local school with 4th and 5th graders tutoring.She is currently enrolled in classes at Rend Lake College and hopes to transfer to SouthernIllinois University in the fall majoring in Elementary Education.Overall, she is really enjoying her second term in Americorps and can’t wait to see what therest of the year has in store. Megan Walendzinski is the Leadercorps representative for the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a non-profit school management organization devoted to improving student achievement in Chicago’s high-poverty, chronically failing schools. In addition to serving students of Chicago’s west and south side, Megan has spent the last 3 years as coordinator of the Batavia Teen Center. She received her undergraduate degree in English and secondary education from Aurora University and will graduate from National Louis University with an M.Ed in Urban Teaching in Spring 2011. In addition to her teaching duties and coursework requirements, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Thriller.Johnedward Mann is a 2nd year americorps member that works with the Children’s Homeassociation in Peoria, Illinois.He joined Americorps to have a new experience and to meet new people along the way. Helooks forward to his year as an Leadercorps member and things to come.After Americorps, John plans on going to college for sound pitch engineering, multimedia,and graphic design.Page 15
  16. 16. Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, Ben Taylor has lived in the Midwest for most of his life. This has not stopped him from traveling extensively-after a year teaching in South Korea, Ben spent 3 months backpacking through Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. As the LeaderCorps representative for Belleville AmeriCorps, he has made every effort to give back to the communities in southern Illinois that raised him. This has included organization of an after-school program, several Day of Service events, and a neighborhood barbecue with several hundred attendants in the summer of 2010. Following this year with AmeriCorps, Ben hopes to enroll in Humboldt State University’s Masters International program-a hybrid academic program with the Peace Corps-with the larger goal of being an international teacher. His favorite pastimes include hiking and reading.Tiffany Lewis joins LeaderCorps as a representative of The Volunteer Center of NW SuburbanChicago in Arlington Heights. She has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA since June of 2010.Tiffany works as the SAVE Program Coordinator working with local nonprofit agenciesand school to successfully integrate and utilize skills-based volunteers through a strategicconsulting process.She joins AmeriCorps after working for six years in Iowa City, Iowa as an elementary schoolteacher. During her time in Iowa, Tiffany taught first and second grade as well as fifth and sixthgrade. She also was the student council co-chair encouraging students to get excited aboutvolunteering and community service projects.She graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s in elementary education andenjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. Ariana Guadalupe Flores is a second-term member of AmeriCorps. She has served one 450 hour term, and is currently serving a 900 hour term in McHenry County. She can say that she loves her job because she loves making a difference. Besides AmeriCorps, she works at Rosati’s and is a freshman at McHenry County College. She is trying to accomplish getting a major in science, and minoring in psychology. She chose these careers because she gets enjoyment out of helping people. Ms. Fores considers herself a humanitarian; she is currently collecting cans for a homeless man and wants to work with the less unfortunate. In the future she would like to adopt two kids. She currently resides in Harvard where she has been living since she was born in 1992. Besides Harvard, she has lived in Mexico and New Jersey; she is of Mexican heritage. Lastly, she is a really shy person but loves getting to meet new people, and loves expressing herself through poetry. Page 16
  17. 17. Cherena “Rena” Douglass is a native of Springfield, Illinois where she was named 2004 State Journal-Register’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the year. Rena currently attends the University of Illinois at Springfield in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in History. She holds the LeaderCorps/AmeriCorps position for the Springfield Urban League. Her site is located at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Springfield, where she assists with the Project Ready college readiness program. This program targets middle school and high school aged youth in an attempt to prepare them for post-secondary education, work, and life after graduating high school. Rena is also currently involved as a mentor with Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries’ Good Guides program. Through this program she has been given the opportunity to coach youth in an array of sports including boy’s and girl’s basketball. She looks forward to her term of service and is proud to be an AmeriCorps volunteer.Born and raised in Sterling, Illinois. Isaias DeLaTorre Jr is the youngest of three children withtwo older sisters. His mother was originally from Texas and his father from Mexico.Isaias is currently enrolled in Sauk Valley Community College to attain an Associates Degreein Business Administration and then hopes to further his education. His all time goal is to starthis own business. Isaias enjoys playing drums and creating music. He highly enjoys servingfor Americorps because its a great opportunity to learn and experience new things throughoutthe beginnings of his college career.The Americorps experience will always be a part of his life and help him to understand theimportance of serving the community. This is his first year serving for Americorps. He servesfor the YMCA of Sterling and his site is an after school program where he helps tutor andmentor elementary students. Samantha Copeland was born in Chicago but had the unique experience of moving to Alabama as a teen which allowed her to grow up a city girl with southern roots. She attended the University of Illinois for a Bachlor’s in Landscape Architecture, and a Master’s in Urban Planning. It was through the planning degree that she developed an interest in social justice. Samantha current serves as an Americorps for the Books to Prisoners program which is a project of the Independant Media Center in Urbana, Illinois. Volunteerism has always been a passion of hers and the type of work she most enjoys is building playgrounds for children. In the future she hopes to be able to practice and teach design, particularly Urban Design with the hope of finding solutions to create better urban environments while being sensitive to the issues of gentrification. After her time with Americorps she hopes to return to school and obtain a Phd in Design.Page 17
  18. 18. Daniel C.K. Ready is 24 years old and hails from a small town in a corner of Michigan calledMonroe. His life in a small town really shaped much of whom he is today, specifically hisattachment to personal interactions and an empathetic personality.He attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio where he earned my bachelor’s degree inclassical humanities, with minors in mathematics and theater. Upon graduation in May 2009,he had firmly attached himself to the Jesuit way of being, namely, “Men and Women forOthers”. By surrounding himself with friends who felt strongly about giving back and drivenby social justice issues, He wanted to serve for at least a year in an educationally focusedsetting. City Year Chicago presented him with just that opportunity. After one year workingwith 6th – 8th graders on personal development and community service through a programcalled Young Heroes, he knew he wanted to come back for a second year. This year he ispart of the Civic Engagement Team, a group that looks to provide service opportunities forcorporations, community members, and our corps by finding and addressing neighborhoodneeds. They have been in schools, churches, community centers, and various non-profits thisyear, hoping to spread the need and desire for service in others.That is why he is here at City Year for a second year, and more importantly that is why he willalways include service as an integral part of my life, no matter what jobs may come my way. Helooks forward to one day being able to impact the largest possible amount of people, perhapsas a Dean of Students at a university, but until he gets there, he will maintain perspective andhumility, remember his personal values, and create an environment where others can do thesame. Woodrow Forrest, Tamika MaloneYouthBuild McLean County AmeriCorps/East St. Louis Lindsay Ridley, Darcy Hampton, U.R.B.A.N., Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley Page 18