During the six-week session, forty (40) students in 1st through 6th grade participated in Energy Express at Wirt County High School. The program allowed participants to participate in reading, writing, art, drama, and recreation while receiving two nutritious family style meals each day.
Each week, students were challenged to look at the world from a different perspective. These self-portraits were completed by participants during the "myself" week of Energy Express. The students were asked to draw themselves and describe what they liked. Creativity and expression are two key elements incorporated throughout the program.
Energy Express classrooms transform during the summer. This high school science classroom quickly filled with drawings, paintings, projects, and diagrams created by the students. Each of the five (5) classrooms used by Energy Express held eight (8) students who were led by one (1) trained AmeriCorps Mentor.
One of the primary goals of Energy Express is to limit the gradual decline of reading ability that often occurs during the summer months when students are out of the classroom. Each of the Energy Express classrooms feature a small library of age-appropriate books. Each day, volunteers read one-on-one with children a book or books of their choice.
Another key aspect of Energy Express is community service, both for the participants and the AmeriCorps mentors leading the program. This year, the site team voted to conduct a non-perishable food drive for the Hope Shop, a local business which provides food and clothes to our community. During one week, the students and community brought in over 100 non-perishable food items for donation.
AmeriCorps Mentors for the summer were: Emilee Kibble, Shawni Hill, Kaitlyn Lockney, Emily Pelfrey and Kaitlyn Thompson.
The AmeriCorps Community Coordinator for our site was Caitlin Cottrell. She was responsible for organizing volunteer efforts, organizing the community service project and open house, and assisting in planning site wide events such as a visit from the local fire department, Mayor Bobbi Moore, and the health department.
The site was led by site coordinator Melissa Speece.
The success of our program would not have been possible without the support of the Wirt County Board of Education, Wirt County Family Resource Network, Wirt County CEOs groups, and the various individual volunteers who devoted their time to our program. The site team would like to thank each individual and group who contributed to our program this summer.