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AmeriCorps Member of the Month-Sharon Sayles


photo of Sharon Sayles

By Gwen Woodson
AmeriCorps Director

Sharon Sayles, full-time member and team leader of the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program, has a contagious enthusiasm. She is placed at the Grenada Elementary School where she mentors and tutors fourth and fifth grade students in math & reading. Sayles graduated from Coffeeville High School and later attended Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, where she majored in social work. She went on to attend Rust College where she continued her social work studies. Sayles plans to use her Education Award ($5,815) to complete her bachelor's degree in social work and elementary education.

Why did you Join AmeriCorps?
I joined AmeriCorps because I felt the need to become a better me. I felt that AmeriCorps would be a great fit because of the community service and the Education Award that would allow me to go back to school to complete the classes I need for my bachelor's degree.

How has being a member impacted you?
I have learned that I am able to impact and influence the life of so many children and people while learning and growing. Serving in AmeriCorps has made a huge impact on me. I have had the chance to step back and see life from so many different perspectives, and I have become more empathetic towards others.

How have the students impacted you?
I currently tutor 14 students in math, reading, and comprehension and have learned that each student/person that I encounter is to be dealt with based on their individual personalities. What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program? Before AmeriCorps, I worked as a substitute teacher in the North Panola School District.

What have you learned in your role?
As a Team Leader, I have learned to deal with confrontation in a healthy way. My goal is to provide students at GES (4-5) a great learning environment, therefore, I have to address problems that would interfere with that environment. Being able to handle confrontation the correct way is a skill that I will continue to use well after AmeriCorps.

Advice to future AmeriCorps members…
I know that serving at GES (4-5) was destined for me. I would advise any future AmeriCorps member to be open for opportunities to grow while serving. This program offers a lot of opportunities to learn and to grow as an individual. The program also offers a lot of training that helps anyone that is open to grow professionally as well. I would also advise them to seek opportunities to grow and to stay positive through opposition. The program can be challenging, but it is worth it.

What is something that people will be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I am quite outspoken at times.

What is your motto in life?
My motto is, "Smile every chance you get! Your smile will change the course of your day and the person that sees it!"

For more information about the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program, contact program director Gwen Woodson at gwoodson@grenadak12.com. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.

Gwen Woodson, Program Director