My name is Amanda Schuler and I am a second year Massachusetts Campus Compact AmeriCorps *VISTA with Berkshire Community College. Over the past few months I have been working hard in the Service-Learning office with the Berkshire United Way and in the Pittsfield Public Schools to strengthen these community partnerships, expand on projects I began last year, and encourage and support students who are participating in Service-Learning through their classes.
Building on my work with the Pittsfield Public Schools and Crosby Elementary in particular, I collaborated with stakeholders to revise BCC’s Tutor Training to better prepare students tutoring in the schools. At the start of the semester, the fate of The Crosby After school Robotics program was uncertain. Crosby did not receive the expected grant funds to support it this year. After a three year partnership, we were committed to continuing this program. Myself, Mary Parkman, John Tatro, and BCC student Nick Kuni all met with the Crosby School Coordinator to strategize how to continue the program. Crosby was able to advocate for funding and the program started on October 23. I recruited a student leader to mentor the three new SL students that allowed me to step back and let the students take the lead. Another great accomplishment from last year to this year is that I achieved my goal of successfully expanding our tutoring and mentoring program to Williams Elementary this semester. Two students are serving as tutors and mentors in Math and After school Homework help there.
I also built on my work from last year helping The Berkshire Immigrant Center. I set up a new Service-Learning project for Spanish students to practice language skills by implementing the survey I created to help track clients’ citizenship status. Another great accomplishment is The Berkshire Immigrant Center video I had created that is being used to outreach and teach the community about this population ended up winning me an award through Pittsfield Community Television.
This year I have been partnering and working with the Berkshire United Way on the early childhood literacy initiative called Pittsfield Promise. I have helped recruit and train students to interview organizations using the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Strategy. I have also attended Third Thursdays and Pajama Night at the Berkshire Museum to conduct outreach for the initiative, Parent Power events to talk with parents from the community about literacy and issues, and steps towards solutions to positively impact our community.
Berkshire Community College
In partnership with Pittsfield Promise