60 students prepare for another year of tutoring CNMI youth
Marianas High School senior Amery Jane Madeloso served nearly 700 service hours by tutoring students in her first year of joining the AmeriCorps program in 2012.
“It was a one-of-a-kind experience for me,” she said. “I dealt with students who needed extra help and students who feel like school is not their thing. The AmeriCorps program has changed my life as well as the students I mentor.”
Madeloso shared her experience and passion for educating Saipan’s youth on Day 1 of the three-day AmeriCorps preservice student orientation at PIC’s Charley’s Cabaret, which ends today. Sixty students from Saipan, Tinian, and Rota participated in the orientation conducted by CNMI PSS AmeriCorps instructor Victoria Nicholas and volunteers.
According to Nicholas, who took helm of the program last year, students who participate in the program must be U.S citizens and have a minimum GPA of 2.5
“Students who participate in the AmeriCorps program go out from kindergarten to junior high school and tutor kids who are reading at the very bottom quadrant of the [national average] reading level,” Nicholas told the Saipan Tribune.
Nicholas explained that only 60 are allowed to join the program but, for the first time, the organization has accepted numerous volunteers.
The three-day workshop prepares the students for what they will encounter in the months to come as AmeriCorps tutors. Juniors and seniors, who make up most of the tutors, will be assigned several students to work with throughout the school year and will have to mentor them.
Nicholas shared that each AmeriCorps tutor is mandated to complete 675 hours of service within a school year and spend at least 14 hours a week mentoring students. Reading and writing will be the main subject areas that students will be mentored in.
“I think it is pretty exciting and intense considering that we have to work on schoolwork and tutor at the same time,” said Tinian senior Ellimae Almogela.
Almogela said that time management will definitely be an obstacle for her and that completing the required hours will be a challenge as well.
“We really have to think about our schedules,” she said. “It is something more than tutoring. I want to become a teacher after I graduate so I have to take this seriously.”
Saipan Southern High School senior Rachel Borja expressed the same sentiments. “It looks like it’s going to be a hard experience and you have to be committed. I think that I can handle it.”
Borja looks at this opportunity as a time to gain skills needed for when she attends college in the mainland.
Rota’s Khurston King remains optimistic about the service hours, saying he decided to participate in the program to “help the youth in the community.”
A senior at Dr. Rita H. Inos Jr./Sr. High, King said, “I will put my mind to it even if it might be difficult. I am excited to tutor students as well as learn from them. “
According to Nicholas, the AmeriCorps tutors will be given a monthly stipend and will be supervised by site coordinators who are the “cogs and wheels” of the program.
The CNMI PSS AmeriCorps program has been running for more than a decade now and students who complete the program receive an education award at the end of the academic year.
The national AmeriCorps program was founded in 1993 and its main goals are to get things done, strengthen communities, encourage responsibility, and expand opportunity.