From left to right: Taiwan Jackson, Ericka Johns, and Jarrod Gray. Quentin Pardon | The Collegian

Quentin Pardon
Staff Writer

AmeriCorps College Completion (ACC) coaches are college graduates who are committed to helping other students attain their educational goals and are also dedicated to community service. Coaches provide intensive support to students in reaching academic milestones that are proven to increase their childhood of success. Coaches also engage students in activities and events that create awareness and address community needs. Coaches who undergo ample training are provided with valuable professional development, networking, guidance and support with career and “Life After the Corps” goals. 

AmeriCorps workers, Jarrod Gray and Ericka Johns, helped students here all school year long. “We’re the go to’s when people don’t know where else to go, either it involves with them struggling financially, lack of food, childcare, can’t afford books or not having the motivation to do the work” said Gray.  Jarrod worked at colleges and universities before but came back to his hometown due to family issues but found an opportunity to work with AmeriCorps. After everything is solved, he plans on moving and continuing his career working with the education system. The most recent major objective they had completed was earlier this year. “The MLK food packing event we held this year, we served almost 900-1,000 meals and had around 80-90 volunteers at the College Center.” 

Obstacles to overcome

With an occupation with so many tasks, there are obstacles to overcome. “Meeting with over one hundred students a semester is so our biggest challenge. Meeting all the students is difficult because some classes require to have two to three meetings with students and depending on their schedule it may be hard for students to come in and meet those requirements but we always seem to make it work” replied by Ericka. Ericka Johns graduated from the Ohio State University with bachelors. She decided to take a break from college but got advice from her old supervisor to take the role with AmeriCorps. She plans on returning back to college to earn her degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Cleveland State University. “We only get to work with them for over a course of a year. Biggest part of the job is to create a connection with the students and that is where we get the most of the feedback. They feel comfortable enough to come to us in time of need and we can talk out their problems and find a solution” she continued.

More than just helping

AmeriCorps does more than just help the students and the community that surrounds them. “AmeriCorps care so much for us. They are always talking about the future with us to make sure we are successful in our next steps ” said Ericka. “They are a great connection for more opportunities after your term here” Jarrod adds. If interested in working with AmeriCorps, here is the criteria. You are required to have an Associate Degree. Skillset wise you must possess problem solving, leadership, effective communication and more. To find out more information about applying and the benefits, please go to these websites to become an AmeriCorps worker. For more information: https://my.americorps.gov/mp/recruit/regristration.