This year, the KC AmeriCorps Alliance was formed to provide AmeriCorps members in Kansas City with training designed to bolster skills relevant to service, and engage with career paths leading to Kansas City jobs. The Alliance connects AmeriCorps members to fellow corps members to resource like low-income assistance during the service year, and to the Kansas City community. Missouri Literacy Lab tutor and KC AmeriCorps Alliance member, Angela Wilson, provided insight into the work of the KC AmeriCorps Alliance and how it has enhanced her work as a tutor.
Angela Wilson and fellow Literacy Lab tutors and KC AmeriCorps Alliance members at an event with Kansas City, MO Mayor Sly James.
1. How did you become involved with the KC AmeriCorps Alliance?
I was invited as a member of The Literacy Lab to attend the meetings this year. I was new to Kansas City, so I became involved with the Community Resource Committee (CRC) – the steering committee of the KC AmeriCorps Alliance – to help me get to know my new city and meet people also serving here.
2. What was the original purpose of the KC AmeriCorps Alliance?
Both the AmeriCorps Alliance and the CRC connect members with resources and provide job-training and thought-provoking conversations. We have 25 organizations in the KC AmeriCorps Alliance who receive emails and have members who have attended at least one PD session. Some of the trainings have included grant writing, volunteer management and non-profit brand management. The CRC has provided resources for filing taxes, networking opportunities, cheap things to do in Kansas CIty and affordable housing options.
3. How has your work with the KC AmeriCorps Alliance contributed to your role as a K-3 tutor?
The KC AmeriCorps Alliance has really increased what I know about my kids, their families, and the challenges they may face. Each person I meet offers a new perspective. An AmeriCorps VISTA member at Harvesters introduced the idea of kids not knowing what fresh vegetables look like. An AmeriCorps VISTA member at Literacy KC talked to me about the additional challenges students face when their parents have low literacy levels. I have also met with people at the Boys and Girls Club, Kansas City Public Library and Harvesters who have been able to connect me with resources for my students and their families.
The opportunity to meet other AmeriCorps members and learn about additional programs provides a chance to see the multiple groups that support community growth in Kansas City. I can step back and breathe because I’m able to see that I’m not the only one fighting illiteracy or worried about my students that live in poverty. I always come away from the committee meetings and the professional development nights re-energized to go back to school the next morning.
4. How can AmeriCorps members in Kansas City get involved with the group?
All AmeriCorps members in the KC area are invited to the AmeriCorps Alliance’s monthly meetings on the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Members who attend the monthly meetings are also invited to join the CRC. We’re a very inclusive group. Nobody is turned away if they have something they want to contribute, even if it’s just their presence.