Hi! My name is Maya Faison and I’m a first year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with The LEAGUE Michigan at Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA). As one of The LEAGUE VISTAs serving throughout Michigan, my service centers on service-learning. Service-learning is a methodology that connects service and philanthropy to the classroom curriculum. Service-learning enhances and reinforces the material that students are learning in school. This concurrently increases academic performance and civic engagement.
While my focus is predominately service-learning, my placement consistently keeps me on my toes. In addition to working with teachers at DEPSA, I serve approximately 20 other schools in Detroit, Flat Rock, and Taylor. Each teacher, school, and project requires unique VISTA support. This year, I have assisted teachers with brainstorming ideas, writing grant applications, identifying community partners, scheduling speakers, and organizing the logistics of projects that occur outside the classroom. Assisting multiple teachers at once can get a little hectic, but it is all worth it when I see the projects students have completed. So far this year, I’ve helped teachers and their students with projects that have benefited numerous groups including resettling refugees, deployed military members, local homeless, and youth in Peru, Mali, and Nepal. It’s amazing to think that by assisting teachers with service-learning projects, I’m helping them empower their students to contribute positively to communities locally and internationally.
Lately, I’ve been busy with Read n’ Give, a statewide literacy campaign. During March, which is National Reading Month, The LEAGUE Michigan works with Crowe Horwath to sponsor Read n’ Give. During Read n’Give, schools and businesses collect books to donate to local organizations that support literacy efforts in their community. The hope is that those who receive books this year will donate them back to Read n’ Give next year creating a continuous cycle of literacy.
I’ve been working with my fellow DEPSA VISTA, Erik, to support the collection efforts in metro Detroit. We have provided materials to schools participating in Read n’ Give, picked up book donations from community partners, and identified organizations in Detroit that will receive the collected books. At the end of March, we will distribute the books to selected schools and organizations. I’m excited to see just how many books we can collect and redistribute in metro Detroit!
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been a VISTA with MNA and The LEAGUE Michigan for seven months already. When I reflect on my time, I see just how much I have accomplished. However, I know that there is still a lot of important work to be done in all of my schools and communities. Even if I can’t accomplish the work by the end of my term in August, I will complete as much as I can and lay the groundwork required for the next VISTA to be successful.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!