MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The national volunteering and service program AmeriCorps has found that Memphis is full of giving people. The Bluff City has one of the highest AmeriCorps participation rates in the country.
Timquilla Williams is one of 20 AmeriCorps members at Porter-Leath’s Early Head Start and Head Start centers in Shelby County.
“My regular day would be me interacting with the kids one on one in the classrooms,” Wiliams said. “Just helping the teachers with whatever they need.”
Williams is part of the AmeriCorps program Generations at Porter-Leath, which focuses on literacy education. She’s one of hundreds of AmeriCorps members in Memphis within eight programs.
Memphis has become one of AmeriCorps’ stand-out cities. The most recent data from the Corporation for National and Community Service said Memphis has the 9th highest participation rate in the U.S.
“The focus is anyone 18 or older,” Generations Manager Judy Rautine said. “They commit to a year of service, they complete 1,700 hours and get an education award.”
Williams said AmeriCorps has turned her long-term goals in to short-term ones.
“I'm actually enrolled in school now, I'm getting my CDA, and with the education award I'm choosing to use it to pay off student loans,” Williams said.
The participation data comes from the year 2016 when more than 300 Memphians participated.
“They do provide such an opportunity for young adults to reach their goals and start a professional career,” Rautine said.
Williams hopes to make early childhood education her career, with the goal to inspire young children to walk in similar footsteps.
“Just making sure [students] have everything and all the help they need so, once they’re older, they can return the favor and help our in the community,” Williams said.
For more on the AmeriCorps, click here.