Member of the Month
By Gwen Woodson
Shatasa Smith-Jones, a second year member of the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program (GSDAP), joined AmeriCorps because she wanted to be a vital influence in the lives of students, perhaps even the vital influence that changes the course of their lives for the better.
"I am committed to give my very best in serving the students of the Grenada School District," said Smith-Jones. "I have been assigned to the Grenada Elementary K-1 site as a tutor and team leader and will continue to represent GSDAP with honor and pride. I also enjoy helping the students. They challenge me and I get to challenge them back."
AmeriCorps members perform over 1,700 hours of service tutoring in the Grenada School District and serving in the community from September through August each year.
"My experience in AmeriCorps has been positive and has made a huge impact on me," said Smith-Jones. "I get to work with a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, which has given me a clear understanding of how our differences make us an effective team. Having the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of people, all striving to make the world a better place, is a truly humbling and inspiring experience. I've gotten to look at my life through a new lens, and I'm grateful for that."
Smith-Jones, a graduate from J. Z. George High School in Carrollton, is married to Ralpheal D. Jones. They have one child, Aaralynn Jones. Her daughter is her motivation to succeed. She will be inducted into the National Honors Society of Leadership and Success later this year.
Shatasa entered the program as a quiet and cautious participant and has turned out to be an exceptional leader and member. She shows so much passion and enthusiasm for her students, and she has really blossomed while serving in the program. It is really noticeable that she has found her true calling. I am very thankful to have her on my team.
"The program has been a great opportunity for me to develop my communication, leadership, and technical skills," said Smith-Jones. "I believe that these skills will prepare me for my career when I finish the program. Also, I am truly thankful for Mrs. Woodson and Mrs. Hubbard for encouraging and pushing me to do more and to be the best I can be. I am a better person because of my time in AmeriCorps."
Smith-Jones is currently working on a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and will use her education award ($5,815) to pursue a degree in Education.
AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.
AmeriCorps members serving through the AmeriCorps Network (AmeriCorps State and National) funded programs serve with local and national organizations to address critical community needs related to disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and in support of veterans and military families. Programs range from full time to part-time service and are found nationwide. There are currently ten programs in the state of Mississippi.
For more information about the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program, contact program director Gwen Woodson at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.