For the City Times
As AmeriCorps Week 2016 approaches, Laurel Olson, a Volunteer Wisconsin AmeriCorps member serving United Way of Portage County, keeps herself busy by planning and running Read Across America Day events throughout Portage County.
“I am really enjoying the process of developing an event that is strengthening our community,” said Olson.
Beginning on Wednesday, March 2, with Read Across America Day – held annually on Dr. Seuss’ birthday – and concluding on Friday, March 4, the events have elected officials, Stevens Point Police Department members and Stevens Point Fire Department members reading their favorite Dr. Seuss books to young students in schools throughout the Stevens Point Area School District.
“It’s wonderful to see these important members of our community connecting to elementary students through reading,” said Olson. “Children’s literacy is important to United Way of Portage County, and these events have helped emphasize that importance.”
As an AmeriCorps member, Olson serves with United Way of Portage County’s Learn for Life, a reading tutoring program at 14 schools in Portage County. In her role, she helps recruit, train, and retain more than 100 reading tutors throughout 43 second- and third-grade classrooms.
“Being a Volunteer Wisconsin AmeriCorps member has let me serve my community and show my two young boys that no matter their life circumstance, one person can have an impact on someone’s life for the better,” said Olson. “This opportunity serving United Way of Portage County has aligned my beliefs and given me the opportunity to serve with the most selfless people I have ever met.”
AmeriCorps Week will be held March 7-11. It is a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve
People interested in learning more about AmeriCorps should visit www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/. People interested in learning more about United Way of Portage County or Learn for Life should visit www.unitedwaypoco.org, call United Way at 715-341-6740, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.