United Way’s Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) AmeriCorps Program Manager, Christina Thomas, becomes the first AmeriCorps SC program to be recognized as AmeriCorps SC’s Program Director of the Year during a program’s first year. Christina was selected out of a pool of 16 program directors.
Staff members at South Carolina Service Commission select the Program Director of the Year based on the percentage of AmeriCorps members enrolled and those graduating from the program, the ability to meet and exceed impact goals related to their program’s mission, the demonstration of administrative excellence and the ability to adapt to meet unforeseen challenges.
“It is an honor to be recognized by AmeriCorps SC as Program Director of the Year,” said Thomas. “I have had so many valuable experiences during my first year managing the MRC AmeriCorps program and I look forward to continued growth in this position. I am very grateful to work with and lead such a talented, passionate group of AmeriCorps members.”
MRC is a volunteer tutoring initiative targeting pre-kindergarten through second-grade students who aren't reading on grade level. The program provides a library of services to establish and nurture a child’s love for reading.
“As the MRC AmeriCorps Program Manager, Christina has empowered her staff by providing outstanding leadership, exceptional support, training and discerning their individual needs,” said Kimberly House, MRC Program Director. “Christina managed to overcome multiple barriers amid the pandemic to meet the needs of MRC schools and students we serve. Her caring spirit and strong work ethic are motivating to others.”
Under Christina’s leadership, AmeriCorps members were committed to serving 1,980 students during the 2020-2021 school. These eight members devoted a combined 13,600 hours by assisting with the Pen Pal initiative, Be a Book Bunny, coordinating volunteers for one-to-one and classroom readings, family engagement events and recording read alouds.
“Christina created an atmosphere that was open and supportive, and she was able to foster community even virtually, between people who come from a whole range of backgrounds and experiences,” said Kati Russ, 2020-2021 MRC AmeriCorps School Liaison. “She encouraged us and gave us every opportunity to grow together, and I believe that it is because of the community she was able to create that we were able to impact the kids in more meaningful ways.”
“Unity and success of this level take great leadership for a program and its members to succeed, and Christina exemplifies this,” said Becky Brennan-Thom, Director of AmeriCorps—South Carolina Service Commission.
To learn more about MRC’s AmeriCorps program, visit www.uway.org/americorps.