America Reads Mississippi is a statewide literacy tutoring program that operates from the MS Institutions of Higher Learning. It is a starting point for academic support for the youngest of Mississippians charting their course to future educational pursuits. ARM currently serves 28 schools in MS, serving students in K – 3rd grade with 90 full-time AmeriCorps members. The Franklin County School District has partnered with ARM since 2000. One hundred and twenty-nine (129) ARM AmeriCorps members have served 1,378 students during this time.
Johnnie Gibbs (pictured above 2nd Row, 7th from the Left) joined the ARM AmeriCorps program in 2016 and served for one year. She was familiar with the program because her son Tommy served in ARM for 2 years (2010-2012) joining straight out of college from Alcorn State University with a degree in Education. Ms. Johnnie stated that her son was excited about serving in AmeriCorps and it gave him 2 years of foundational experience under his belt in the school setting and helped him be a successful 1st year teacher. He is currently teaching in Brookhaven, MS. Ms. Johnnie graduated from Alcorn State University with a BS (1981) and a MS (1984) degree both in Biology and got a research position at Alcorn right after graduation. After a 30-year career in the chemistry research/agriculture lab, Ms. Johnnie was laid off. She had too much experience without certification to find another position in a lab setting and no experience in any other field. She was doing nothing. She remembered AmeriCorps. Ms. Johnnie stated, “It was hard at first doing something different but I know I am much stronger today than I was when I walked into Ms. Goff’s office on my first day as an ARM AmeriCorps member. AmeriCorps taught me how to be a reading tutor and I gained knowledge and skills related to education. It brought me to the forefront and enhanced my ability to get the job done.” Ms. Johnnie was hired as a Teacher Assistant at Franklin County Lower Elementary, the school where she served as an ARM member and a school where she is dearly loved and respected. Ms. Johnnie transferred her education award to her youngest son, Tony who is a student at Co-Lin Community College majoring in Math and Biology.