Cherish Our Children creates bright futures for the children of incarcerated parents, and you can help. Join us for a paid year of service to help us get our Gaining Empowerment in Middle School (GEMS) program ready to shine! In this multi-faceted position you'll:
- build a service network to provide wraparound support to student's families by connecting with local organizations and non-profits
- identify caregiver needs and ensure GEMS has the procedures in place to meet them, monitoring and evaluating our progress along the way
- develop a program to bring mentors and role-models into students' lives, from recruitment to training
- formalize the current GEMS curriculum, which focuses on social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as develop the training for new GEMS teachers
We are looking for an analytical brain with a big heart, someone who is equally comfortable gaining the trust of a traumatized student as they are doing in-depth research. Our ideal VISTA is a master communicator who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Spanish fluency is required for this position.
As our VISTA, you will be supported, coached, and respected throughout your year of service as you learn valuable, transferable skills and attend professional development sessions to build your portfolio.
MORE ABOUT COCI
COCI’s mission is to create brighter futures for children of incarcerated parents. Our new program, GEMS-Gaining Empowerment in Middle School, works with students who have seen a parent go to prison navigate one of the most difficult periods of their lives. GEMS works in Houston middle schools to build a network of support for our students in three ways. First, we hold in-school classes where students build the social, emotional and cognitive development skills they need to make the transition to adulthood. Second, we work to strengthen support at home through outreach to parents and caregivers and by helping them connect with necessary services. Third, we expand the horizons of our students by increasing the number of positive role-models in their lives.
GEMS launched at the beginning of 2021 with two demonstration schools. Our objective is to formalize the program to begin expanding in the fall and to lay the foundation to grow into more schools and add more students in the future. The need is there. More than 43,000 middle-school-aged students in the Houston Metro area have had a parent in prison at some point in their lives and a disproportionate number of them are children of color. They are half as likely to graduate as their peers and far more likely to be justice-involved as adults. Our goal is to change that.
Literacy Coalition of Central Texas breaks the cycle of intergenerational poverty through comprehensive literacy services. With our AmeriCorps VISTA Initiative program our mission is spread across the state of Texas. Each VISTA serves full-time for one year at their placement site with at our partner agencies. They help to improve health services, create and evaluate programs, strengthen community groups, conduct outreach, and much, much more.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Student loan forbearance, Training
Networking opportunities, Monthly professional Development, and additional learning opportunities throughout your service year.
Desired Certifications or Qualifications
Fluency in Spanish required, experience in working with under-served populations, experience mentoring youths.
Permits attendance at school during off hours
Subject to criminal background check