EKU Americorps Director Invited to White House Ceremony
Nancy Thames, director of Eastern ‘s AmeriCorps program since its establishment at the University 16 years ago, is headed to the White House.
Thames has been invited by President George Bush to attend his Remarks on Volunteering on Monday, Sept. 8, on the South Lawn. The event, which will recognize and honor volunteerism across the U.S., will begin at noon and conclude at 2:45 p.m.
EKU's SERV Corps is one of the original AmeriCorps programs in the nation, receiving the first AmeriCorps grant in 1994.
“Our nation and Kentucky are deeply rooted in volunteerism,” Thames said. “This event is a celebration of the importance of volunteering, and I am honored to represent EKU and Kentucky at such an event because I believe so strongly in the power and importance of volunteering.
“The mission of our EKU SERV Corps is to connect schools and communities in meaningful literacy, drug abuse education service and volunteer programs and to promote the ethic of service,” Thames continued. “This White House event promotes the ethic of service in our nation and in Kentucky.”
SERV Corps partners with 16 Southeastern and Central school districts, providing 30 AmeriCorps Members to tutor at-risk reading students, teach the "Too Good for Drugs" curriculum, establish and coordinate drug abuse education clubs, and recruit and coordinate volunteer programs.
SERV Corps AmeriCorps Members serve 1,700 hours from Sept. 1 to June 30 of each year. The area of southeastern and central Kentucky served by SERV Corps has one of the lowest literacy levels and the highest rates of drug abuse in the nation.
During the past year alone, SERV Corps Members:
- tutored 845 at-risk elementary reading students in research-based reading programs.
- taught 4,819 elementary students the entire "Too Good for Drugs” curriculum.
- established and coordinated 29 drug abuse education clubs in elementary schools.
- recruited 3,754 volunteers for literacy and drug abuse education programs in elementary schools.
- coordinated Book Buddy programs, food and clothing drives, disaster relief projects, parent reading programs, community literacy and drug abuse education events.
In 1998, SERV Corps brought America's Promise, a service program founded by Gen. Colin Powell, to EKU, making Eastern the first University of Promise in Kentucky and the 11th University of Promise in the nation. In 2000, SERV Corps helped sponsor the America's Promise Summit at EKU with Gen. Powell and then-Gov. Paul Patton as speakers. Approximately 5,000 Kentuckians attended.
SERV Corps has established the SERV Corps Scholars program, the only such AmeriCorps program in Kentucky and one of a few in the nation. Through the SERV Corps Scholars program, SERV Corps AmeriCorps Members earn three hours of undergraduate or graduate credit for their 1,700 hours of service.
This year, SERV Corps and SERV Corps Members were awarded Governor's Citations for outstanding service to Southeastern and Central Kentucky schools and communities.