By Mona Stephens-
Prescott, AZ – United Way of Yavapai County and Arizona Serve an AmeriCorps program of Prescott College are pleased to announce a partnership to expand the United Way Student Ambassador program which provides high school seniors with professional development opportunities, through AmeriCorps, while giving districts much-needed classroom support.
“The program responds to multiple needs, we are able to provide our elementary and middle school students a teen role model who in turn is developing their own professional skills, earning college credits, and college scholarships,” said Annie Reifsnyder, Director of Training for Arizona Serve of Prescott College.
Over the past 2 years, an initiative formally called the Student Ambassador program, proved to be a major success for the Prescott Unified School District and a local charter school. The success in the Prescott Area prompted Arizona Serve to contemplate expanding this program across Yavapai County. When representatives from the United Way of Yavapai County found out, the two organizations joined forces and renamed the initiative the United Way Student Ambassador Program.
This program offers high school seniors, 17-years of age or older, the opportunity to become AmeriCorps members. These students serve for 300 hours in elementary and middle school classrooms as student teachers/mentors or with local nonprofits in a multitude of roles. Students gain first-hand experience, earn 4 college credits along with a certificate in Civic Leadership from Prescott College, and receive an education award of $1,342.86.
“United Way of Yavapai County is looking forward to strategically expanding our partnership with Arizona Serve to help support the next generation of future teachers and nonprofit leaders,” stated Patty Demers, Executive Director of United Way Yavapai County.
Not only does the program benefit the Student Ambassadors but districts, teachers, younger students, and the community at large feel the impact. Districts participate for free and love the idea of “growing your own” teachers. Educators boast about the help they receive with classroom instruction, lesson planning, and grading. Students receive individualized attention and a positive role model. While the community at large benefits from teens promoting civic engagement and serving within local nonprofits to address specific community-based issues.
The goal for the 2021-2022 school year is to have 20 United Way Student Ambassadors serving in school districts throughout Yavapai County. Ash Fork, Seligman, and Mingus school districts already agreed to test the program out in their districts. Staff at both the United Way of Yavapai County and Arizona Serve are hoping to solidify expansion efforts with Dewey-Humboldt, Camp Verde, and Sedona Oak Creek Unified school districts within the coming months.
For more information about the United Way Student Ambassador program or how to get involved visit http://arizonaserve.org/apply/ambassadors, contact Mona Stephens at Arizona Serve at (602) 759-0011, or contact Joelle Zuberi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danner Cozens, United Way Student Ambassador, leads 1st-grade reading sessions for Taylor Hicks while traveling back from an appointment.