Better Together: Unifying Our Community Through Service
October 19, 2017
At Teach For America – South Carolina we take our part in not only unifying, but also in serving our community, very seriously. As the school year rolls into a busy fall season, our network is taking time to step back and support our community partners in service.
One of our school partners, Mellichamp Elementary, was deeply impacted by the disastrous flooding in 2015 and left without a school library for students and families.
Realizing the depth and duration of the flood impact, TFA-SC staff members were eager to help. In conversation with principal, Mr. Hayward Jean, we asked, “what do you need?” His answers led us to create a TFA-SC staff service day dedicated to rebuilding the Mellichamp Elementary library. Staff members teamed up to unload large storage crates and sort boxes of books into reading levels. At the end of a long morning, everyone felt great about the progress of the library, but realized the work wasn’t quite complete.
“We could have just finished, but there was more to do,” Vanity Jenkins, Senior Managing Director of Leadership Continuum reflects. “We wanted the Mellichamp community to know that when these types of disasters happen, we are always here. We place corps members as teachers but we also value building community and partnership to support the work. At the end of the day, it’s about the students.”
With the end goal in reach, Project M.E.L.T (Mellichamp Elementary Library Transformation) was created to mobilize our broader network of alumni and corps members. One Saturday, the group met and took the project over the finish line. Books were scanned and sorted into alphabetical order, books published prior to 2005 were separated to be given to students and families for at home reading, and the library walls were given a fresh coat of paint.
The grand re-opening of the library will take place this month. For students, the rejuvenation of their library once lost will significantly improve the new school year and for the Mellichamp community, for many years to come.
9/11 AmeriCorps Day of Service
During the month of September all AmeriCorps members nationwide, including TFA-SC Teach For America corps members, partake in a day of service in remembrance of September 11, 2001.
“In the dark days following September 11, Americans came together as a country to show that we are there for each other,” said Kim Mansaray, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “I am proud that so many Americans choose to dedicate this day to give back in honor of the victims and heroes of September 11. This is America at its best.”
In response to the many communities we serve and are members of, TFA-SC partnered with Habitat For Humanity to offer multiple service projects in the Charleston, Columbia, and Florence areas. Service projects varied depending on location, whether at a Habitat Re-Store or build site. Our 9/11 service day saw corps members and staff painting, learning construction and building skills, moving and delivering furniture, cleaning, and even electronics testing and installation! The day was spent in community with
others and ourselves and in reflection of what a unified body of individuals can accomplish together.