Focus Area: Early Childhood

Grant Amount: $15,000

Based in Minneapolis, serves statewide. Launched in 1994 as the Minnesota Commission on National and Community service, ServeMinnesota oversees Minnesota’s AmeriCorps programs and is involved in several initiatives focused on closing the achievement gap in Minneapolis and St. Paul. ServeMN was the first in the nation to develop the Reading Corps program, which has since expanded to 13 other states. Its Early Learning Corps provides high-quality Pre-K education and literacy- and math-rich learning environments to young children who otherwise couldn’t access it. The program builds capacity in early learning settings including family childcare, which often doesn’t have the same access to literacy learning opportunities as childcare centers.

Grant supports expanding support for children birth to 5 in the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis and the Promise Neighborhood in St. Paul. Reading Corps uses a curriculum called “Talk, Read, Write, Count,” which includes a strategy to engage families by sending home a bag filled with supplies to implement the curriculum. Materials are specific to a child’s age, and childcare programs also take a family’s interests into account. The tutors receive training in both social-emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-informed practices.