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Creating Student Leaders Through Service

by Dana Forde

After her seventh-grade teacher explained the connection between service and the Peace Corps, a 12-year-old Laura Glaub promised to factor service into her own life. Years later, she pursued opportunities that would support her dream of becoming a social worker. A quick online search led her to Partners for After School Success, a multi-site AmeriCorps program that targets middle and high school students.

AmeriCorps member Laura Glaub (second from left) connects students with volunteer opportunities through the Partners for After School Success program.“I knew I was interested in middle schoolers and their development,” Glaub said. “And I was excited to work one-on-one with students and really develop relationships with them.”

Now in her second term with AmeriCorps, Glaub directs a school-based service club called Together Everyone Achieves More (T.E.A.M). The club connects low-income students to volunteering opportunities at food banks, holiday drives, local schools, and nearby organizations. Over the past two years, T.E.A.M. has engaged more than four dozen seventh and eighth graders in service events throughout Madison, WI.

The program, Glaub added, also teaches participants about local community issues, and the spirit of giving back to others -- a value she wants students to cherish for life.

“We talk about how some students don’t get the opportunity to develop their leadership skills in the classroom,” Glaub said. “And we wanted them to feel like this was a place they could be leaders and feel they could succeed.”

Demand for entry into T.E.A.M. has steadily increased since its inception. Students submit “oral applications” explaining their interest in landing one of a limited number of slots at the beginning of the year, and priority is given to those who are not performing well in the classroom.

The program has become a catalyst for student success, Glaub said. Many students, who hadn’t contributed to school or local activities before T.E.A.M., now find themselves participating in many.

“I’m excited because they saw how awesome it can be to help others,” Glaub said. “The students realize they have this potential as leaders and can use that elsewhere.”

Partners for After School Success, an AmeriCorps program, is administered by the Department of Human Services for Dane County, WI. During the month of February, the Corporation for National and Community Service is celebrating the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps and highlighting the theme of education. For more information about AmeriCorps 20th anniversary, please visit the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary portal.

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