Do you like helping others? Would you like professional experience and training that looks good on your resume? Change a child’s life this summer by joining Summer Reads, an AmeriCorps VISTA program at Minnesota Literacy Council. Each year, approximately 75 VISTAs serve in pairs at one or two placement sites in summer schools, libraries and community organizations across Minnesota, with the goal of helping children in grades K-3 improve their literacy skills and fight the summer slide. Under the mentoring of an on-site supervisor, VISTAs serve in a variety of program environments. They may use the site's curriculum or design their own lesson plans; work with children one-on-one or in small or large groups; act as a classroom assistant or lead a program themselves - depending on the placement site.
Through books, reading, creative enrichment and positive mentoring, VISTAs help instill a love of literacy and learning. VISTAs set reading goals with children, distribute thousands of free books and create camp-like experiences to give summer learning a different feel from the school year. By the end of summer, children realize a story doesn’t have to stay in a book; it can be brought to life through art, theater, gardening, games and more.
Positions are available throughout the Twin Cities metro area and several communities in greater Minnesota. Please check our website for locations ( www.mnliteracy.org/americorps-vista ).
Summer Reads VISTAs serve full-time for 8 weeks (10 weeks for Outreach Specialists) from June to August and are not permitted absences for vacations or personal time. With prior approval from Minnesota Literacy Council, they may hold additional part-time jobs or take college courses during the term of service.
Required qualifications include:
At least 18 years of age at the time of placement
A U.S. Citizen, National or Legal Resident *
Must be able to clear a general background check, including a search of the Sex Offender Public Registry
History of volunteerism, work with literacy or work with children
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Must be able to speak proficiently in English and read aloud to groups/individual children
Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
Must be able to serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week):
Twin Cities metro and some greater Minnesota locations: June 12-August 6
Select greater Minnesota Locations: June 5-July 30
Outreach Specialists: June 1-August 9
Qualifications preferred but not required:
Additional language skills, especially in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, or Karen
Background (work/volunteer experience, education, or combination) in Education, Youth Studies, Child Development or Social Work
* Some non-US citizens may serve but are not eligible to receive an Education Award (e.g., individuals with DACA status). Please inquire for more details.
In addition to the VISTA tutor positions, Summer Reads has two special VISTA positions - Outreach Specialists - that work side-by-side with the National Service staff to ensure the program runs successfully. While part of their time is spent tutoring, Outreach Specialists’ primary role is to provide invaluable support, resources and training for Summer Reads VISTAs. They also play an important role in our program evaluation process by supporting VISTAs in the administration of literacy assessments and collecting and analyzing the data. Outreach Specialists serve for 10 weeks and serve out of the Minnesota Literacy Council main office in Saint Paul.
Benefits: bi-weekly living allowance (approx. $455 pre-tax); $1,222 Education Award or $230 cash stipend at the end of service; service-related travel reimbursement; student loan forbearance; training. Public benefit assistance is not affected by VISTA service.
How to Apply
Visit our website for details on how to apply for the Summer Reads VISTA positions: http://www.mnliteracy.org/volunteers/vista/summer-reads-vista . VISTA members can serve at sites throughout Minnesota. In the Twin Cities metro area (including suburbs) VISTA candidates first apply to the Twin Cities Summer Reads program and then, once accepted into the program, are placed at 1-2 host sites in the metro area. Outside of the metro in greater Minnesota, VISTA candidates apply directly to the location(s) of their choice.
Applicants must create a My AmeriCorps account to apply. After you create your My AmeriCorps account, you must then apply to the Summer Reads position listing(s). Applications are accepted and interviews are granted on a rolling basis until filled. Priority consideration will be given to applications received before April 30.
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