October 15, 2004

Students serve communities through AmeriCorps

by Bonnie Marx

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- As AmeriCorps nationwide celebrates its 10th anniversary, the Land of Lincoln chapter at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a charter member of AmeriCorps, is continuing its proud tradition of serving local communities.

The LLA members spend about 20 hours each week in four area schools - - in Carbondale, Du Quoin, Elverado and Murphysboro - - and each also takes a full course load. AmeriCorps members receive a monthly stipend, and after their terms of service are up, they receive an education award to help finance their studies or pay back student loans.The Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps (LLA), a consortium comprised of SIUC and eight community colleges, draws on the talents of college students to provide tutoring and mentoring to elementary and middle school children. Members strive to enhance literacy skills, improve reading and language skills, reduce absenteeism and promote a positive perception of education among the school children, said Mythili K. Rundblad, coordinator of volunteerism and service learning in the University's student development office.

AmeriCorps is a grant-based project made possible through the Corporation for National Service in Washington, D.C., which oversees all national service programs. At the state level, the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service administers the program. Serving others and creating citizen-leaders are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019

Members of the SIUC chapter of the Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps for the 2004-2005 academic year are:

  • Sonia Garrett, a senior from Chicago with a double major in early childhood education and psychology, selected for her second year of membership;
  • Sarah Hutchcraft, a sophomore in elementary education from Benton;
  • Justin Maxson, a senior in recreation management from Moline;
  • Meredith Murray, a junior in elementary education from O'Fallon;
  • Tim Parli, a May 2004 SIUC graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in industrial design, of Rochelle;
  • Jason Pigg, a junior in biological sciences from Harrisburg;
  • Alex Reynolds, a sophomore in history from Hillsboro;
  • David Seastedt, a senior in biology from Galesburg, selected for his second year of membership;
  • Ingrid Smith, a senior from St. Louis, Mo., with a double major in social work and psychology;
  • Erin Yaseen, a senior from Chicago majoring in food and nutrition-dietetics.

For more information about AmeriCorps, call the SIUC student development office at 618/453-5714.