Bates and USM/LA jointly served by AmeriCorps*VISTA member

In an unusual cooperative effort between a private and public institution of higher education, the Bates College Center for Service Learning and the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College (LAC) share the services of an AmeriCorps*Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) member.

Amy Keith, a native of Concord, Mass., and an Oberlin College graduate, is working on both campuses through the Maine Campus Compact to develop sustainable programs that create better connections between the college and the community.

At both Bates and LAC, Keith provides training and education to students about the “America Reads” initiative. As part of her work with “America Reads” and “America Counts,” Keith coordinates work-study and volunteer tutors in the Lewiston elementary schools. She also has been meeting with public school teachers to establish good working relationships and coordinate communication between the tutors and teachers.

Keith is also working with faculty and students at both institutions on service-learning projects, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. “read-in.” At LAC, Keith will be working to integrate more fully service-learning into the college community by creating a centralized catalog of available or completed projects, providing faculty and students with access to information about various community projects and collaborations. Keith hopes this will increase the LAC service-learning network. At Bates, Keith provides support for ongoing service-learning projects that the college sponsors in the community.

Americorps is a national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with educational awards in exchange for a year or two of community service. AmeriCorps*VISTA members have served in disadvantaged communities for more than 30 years. Members work full-time and live in the communities they serve, creating sustainable programs that can continue after they complete their service. There are currently more than 45,000 AmeriCorps members doing community service across the country.

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