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2011-12 AmeriCorps Volunteers

(October 25, 2011, Batesville, AR) – The Ozark Foothills Literacy Project is proud to announce and welcome Matthew Carpenter of Melbourne and Shelly Seymore of Batesville as the organization's AmeriCorps volunteers for 2011-2012. Carpenter and Seymore will tutor adult students who are learning to read or who are learning English, help recruit new students and volunteer tutors, and help promote the Literacy Project in Independence, Sharp and Fulton Counties. After successfully completing a 900 hour term of service, Carpenter and Seymore will each receive an Educational Award of $2,775 to be used at a school of their choice.

Matthew Carpenter is a full-time student at UACCB and a part-time student at Lyon. He enjoys learning about other cultures and languages, an interest that was sparked a few years ago on a trip to Russia with his father. At the Literacy Project, Carpenter will be able to pursue his interest in languages as a tutor for Latin American students who will be learning or improving English skills. He likes teaching and previously worked as a tutor with UACCB's TRIO program. He is looking forward to a two-week study tour of Japan his Lyon College Japanese class will take in the spring. Ultimately, he plans to apply to the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program and from there become a cultural liaison.

Shelly Seymore is a student attending UACCB. She has an associate's degree in liberal arts and general education and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She is looking forward to helping promote literacy in Batesville and the surrounding communities, as she believes that literacy opens up great opportunities for people. For two years, Seymore and her husband were stationed in Germany in connection with his position with the Military Police. In part because of this international experience, Seymore has an interest in interacting with other cultures. She also enjoys taking photographs, reading fiction novels, and facilitating Bible study groups. She has been a dedicated community volunteer for years, and she continues to serve her community in many meaningful ways.

This is the first time the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project has received two AmeriCorps positions through the “Arkansas Reads” program, which is administered by Arkansas Literacy Councils in Little Rock. The two positions are also made possible thanks to United Way of Independence County. As a United Way agency, the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project has been granted funds to help cover the majority of the cost of the two positions.

AmeriCorps is a federal program aimed at promoting community volunteering. AmeriCorps members across the country work to meet critical community needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. AmeriCorps alumni report gaining life and job skills, such as leadership, teamwork, time-management, and hands-on experience in fields of interest. There are thousands of AmeriCorps positions in the United States each year, each of which provides a unique opportunity for members to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of those around them.