AmeriCorps. I said I would say what keeps me so busy, and at times, so stressed. So... What is it and what do they do? Think of the Peace Corp, only for literacy. Volunteer for 1-2 years (Aug-July) and get a living stipend for 10 months each year. You can do AmeriCorps for only 2 years in your life. At the end of each year, they give you an educational stipend. You can use it to pay off student loans or to go to school. At the end of 2 years I will have enough in the stipend I get for 1 year at USU. That is depending on what tuition is at that point! I'm in the middle of my 1st year. There are requirements, some are the same year to year, others are different. This year:
- 900 hours for part time (me)--split between training, community service and direct service
- Week of training in Ogden, which coincided with the first week of school here for my kids, so I drove back and forth
- training--study groups once a month (sept, oct, nov, feb, mar, apr) about an assigned book. First book was a simple yet redundant skinny book about teaching phonics. Quick, easy read. This time it is a book with 300 some pages called Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. First 10 chapters for Feb study group. Not bad but they also give us a book of questions to have answered, go to her website, visit her blog, sign up for her contests, and then start a scrapbook about our own wishes. I don't scrapbook. We also have to have CERT training. We had the choice to do the 20 hours on line and not be fully certified to be called out for disasters, or take the actual 7 week course and be certified to be called out. I opted for the online course! Plus we have individual 1 hour training with our leader 3 times a year, plus another week long training.
- 50 hours of community service--25 that can fall in an 'easy circle' (I drove the girls for color guard practice and competitions) and 25 that have to fall in a hard circle. I did the kits and toys for CAPSA plus volunteered at a care center. We also had a MLK day 6-8 hour project with our study group that didn't count toward the 50 hours. We tied quilts for DI (the Humanitarian project) And we have a week long project in May for AmeriCorps week that we have to come up with. Doesn't count toward the 50.
- List any service we do on a Presidential website. I have a lot of hours listed here. I was actually quite surprised. Of course everything you do counts here, including Church callings, taking dinner to a neighbor, etc.
- Homeland security project and a literacy night project.
- Direct service is what I do every day--I teach 2nd grade and kindergarten reading groups--5 hours every day. Being in AmeriCorps, we have the most at risk groups. It is sad to see them so far behind, but so great to see how far they come. Sad for those who don't really progress because of non-attendance or no help at home.
- Report all dibels scores 3 times a year. Listed by child.
- Any time anything extra needs done at school, we get to do it because we aren't on a time clock. And there is always something extra. I'm supposed to work from 8:30-1:30. There are times I don't get off anywhere from 3:30-6:00.
I had a wedding in November in the middle of all this as well. By Christmas I had wedding done, my 50 hours service done, Homeland Security done, Literacy night done, Presidential site up to date, had helped Colleen get most of hers done (she's going to college right now!). We are 1/2 through with our CERT course now. And yes, I'm planning on doing my 2nd year next year. #1-It pretty much guarantees me a job at this point. #2- the educational stipend.
Now I'm tired just listing it all. Think I'm going to go watch some NCIS until it's time to go to the rec center. Oops, maybe not. I have to take Morgan to her orthodontist appointment. And numerous other 'mom' things.
And I fell on the sidewalk this morning on the newly fallen snow, and think I broke my thumb.