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20 years ago today, the first class of AmeriCorps members began serving nationwide after President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, effectively creating the AmeriCorps Program and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA Alum myself, this celebration of service, commitment, & growth comes with a special sense of pride. I have seen first-hand the sacrifice, passion and energy AmeriCorps members have put into their community each and every day. We wish to extend a generous THANK YOU to all of our past & current KOC AmeriCorps members, wherever you may be :)  We are immensely grateful and honored to be a part of this great program; Kids On Course would not be where it is today without your contributions!

So without further adieu, I would like to introduce everyone to our latest group of AmeriCorps members, who are serving at Grant, Harrison, & Van Buren Elementary Schools:

#AmeriCorps20

Hi everyone! I’m Kara Mihalik, part of the Kids On Course team at Grant Elementary!  I’m excited to be a part of the program because I know how important education is, and how hard it is to remember it when you’re stuck going to school every day.  I joined AmeriCorps and Kids On Course because I want to show kids how fun learning can be, and get them excited to come to school every day!  I’m originally from Springfield, Missouri in the Ozarks. I went to the Missouri University of Science and Technology (a very long name, I know) in Rolla, Missouri. Our mascot was Joe Miner, and is probably the only mascot that carried a slide ruler. I’m new to Cedar Rapids and spent my last year volunteering at an elementary school up in Alaska.  If I could choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be pizza. I’m so excited to be a part of this program and to be a part of these students’ lives!

kara

Hey Everyone! My name is Rachel Bradle. I’m originally from a small town in Illinois called Eureka – approximately three hours south of Chicago. I graduated from Eureka High School, home of the Eureka Hornets. I also received my Bachelor’s Degree from Drake University in Des Moines. Go Bulldogs! As for fun facts about me, I spent two years learning Arabic, although I’m not as fluent as I would like to be. I also love to travel and have been to the U.K. and Egypt. I chose the Kids on Course AmeriCorps program because I love working with kids. Also, this program is very different from the type of work I am use to. So, it’s a nice change of pace, and I’m loving the experience! This school year, I am excited to interact with the kids and get to know them! I can’t wait to see where this year goes!

rachel

Hello there!  My name is Chris Roggio and I grew up in the Champaign-Urbana area located in Illinois.  I went to high school in Monticello, Illinois which was a half-hour away from Champaign-Urbana.  I love playing and watching sports, basketball being my favorite of them all!  I grew up watching the Fighting Illini and started to get my degree at the University of Illinois in Accounting but I decided to take some time off.  I did not have a lot of interest in business so I decided to explore if teaching would be my cup of tea.  I chose to do AmeriCorps for a couple of reasons.  First, I needed to find a job and I wanted to do something that was not related to my major in college.  Second, there are a lot of benefits of being an AmeriCorps that was too great to pass up.  I did not start my AmeriCorps term with Kids on Course at first.  I worked at another elementary school but this past summer I helped out with KOC’s summer program.  I fell in love with the staff immediately.  The more I learned about Kids on Course the more I wanted to be a part of the staff.  Now, I had a great relationship with the staff at my other site but the Kids on Course staff truly care about you and want you to be successful.  Also, going from a tutor to an enrichment leader was another reason why I wanted to join.  I am excited to be a part of this staff and I look forward to leading my first class in my life.  I hope that this opportunity answers my question of becoming a teacher.  I cannot wait to work with the students which is the best part about the job.

chris

Hi my name is Anna Rothgeb.  I grew up in Puyallup, Washington, in the shadow of Mount Rainier.  I graduated from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), where I studied cognitive psychology.  I enjoy fencing and board games, and love vegetarian curries.  I joined AmeriCorps last year as an elementary school tutor in Federal Way, WA.  After the year was up, I wanted to continue working with kids while exploring a new part of the country, so I applied to work with Kids on Course.  This year I’m excited to help kids Dream Big and have fun while learning.

anna

Hi, my name is Becky and I am from St. Paul, Minnesota.  I graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall (Go Raiders!) and I am way into the arts. I have studied and performed classical ballet for fourteen years and modern/contemporary dance for nine years. I have starred in and contributed time to multiple theater productions through my high school. I also enjoy studio arts such as painting (watercolor), drawing, and music production!  I was originally going to go right into college at the University of Iowa, however the cost of out of state tuition was a bit off-putting. I then decided to defer for a year in order to gain residency. With this “free-space” of time, I wanted to do something more than just a regular job. My cousin had taken a year off to commit to a Habitat For Humanity focused AmeriCorps program after graduating high school. After hearing about her experience, I decided I would look into the different options AmeriCorps had to offer.  My senior year of high school, we had done a program where we would go to a local elementary school every Thursday morning and help them in different subjects. I wanted to do something similar with child development, and it just so happened that Cedar Rapids has a major Youth Achievement AmeriCorps Program! I was lucky enough to happen to stumble upon a great position coordinated with Kids On Course.  Kids On Course is a great program that really strives to make a difference in the lives of children and families here in Cedar Rapids. I am so glad to be a part of this team and hope that I can make an impressionable impact on people’s quality of life through my year of service with KOC.

becky