Kids Corp volunteers support teachers in local classrooms

Kids Corp volunteers support teachers in local classrooms

Lindsey Mendelson (left) and Ali Oshinsky, cofounders of Kids Corp, hold books collected from a book drive.

Kids Corp, recently announced plans to expand to 200 volunteers this school year. Kids Corp is a youth-led volunteer service comprised of students in South Florida and beyond who are dedicated to community service and youth leadership initiatives that help build capacity and bolster resources in high need schools by building awareness about the opportunity gap and offering hands-on volunteer opportunities in underresourced schools

Lindsey Mendelson of Ransom Everglades School and Ali Oshinsky of Pine Crest School co-founded Kids Corp in 2012 after organizing a service project to support teachers in Liberty City and Overtown.

Mendelson and Oshinsky last year formalized their mission to serve as a platform to involve youth and other community members in the effort to expand educational opportunities and provide educational resources in South Florida. They expanded their efforts by launching a partnership with Teach For America in fall 2012 and forged partnerships with Aventura Mall and Simon Malls Corporation to launch school supply drives this summer.

“I have admired Teach For America from a distance thinking it was an organization where college grads and adult volunteers could help,” Mendelson said. “Through Kids Corp, hundreds of teenagers throughout Dade County from dozens of schools can get involved and make a difference in so many classrooms.

“In addition, Kids Corp is supporting the ongoing work of our community to expand educational opportunities at high-need schools and introducing high-school age volunteers to see what it takes to eliminate educational inequity in our country,” she added.

Kids Corp hosts a Google platform where Teach For America corps members have the option to post projects that will support their classroom lessons and objectives. The online tracker includes project specifics, due dates, and delivery information as well as opportunities to visit classrooms to work one-on-one with the students.

“Kids our age know the power of social media. In forming Kids Corp, we wanted to harness that power and use it to spread the word about the variety of ways we can help make a difference in bridging the education gap,” Oshinsky said.

“Through social media sites, we can reach out to friends all over the country, supporting Teach For America corps members while also providing a platform to educate the community and high school students.” Through technology and social media networking, Kids Corp is exploding. Mendelson and Oshinsky successfully launched a crowdsourcing campaign via Fundly raising $10,000 to support Teach For America and use social media to spread the word about Kids Corps and educational inequity to kids across Southern Florida and across the country.

Kids Corp currently focuses on Lenora B. Smith Elementary, Holmes Elementary, Morningside Elementary and reaches approximately 25 classrooms of averaging between 20- 30 kids per classroom. The group now has over 100 volunteers extending from South Miami- Dade County to Broward County, including kids from Ransom Everglades, Pine Crest, Gulliver, Palmetto, Krop, Beth Am, Felix Varela, Carrolton, Key Biscayne Community School, and University School. Kids Corp is hoping to have over 200 volunteers by the end of the school year.

“It’s wonderful to see how entrepreneurial our young people can be and to see how Kids Corp is really working to support student learning and the work of teachers,” said Maxeme Tuchman, executive director of Teach For America – Miami-Dade. “I’m thrilled that Lindsey and Ali have tapped the talent and leadership of so many students and created a program that highlights the importance of education and service to our community.”

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