This week marks the official end of the school year for most K-12 students (and their hardworking teachers, parents and administrators). Because a majority of Volunteer Florida’s AmeriCorps programs are education-based, this is a great week for celebration and reflection of the impact our AmeriCorps mentors, tutors and teachers are having in Florida’s schools.

Our AmeriCorps members serve in over 400 Florida schools, helping more than 48,000 students to improve their reading and math skills. They’re also running after-school programs, serving as role models, and saving lives.

That’s not a typo — AmeriCorps saves lives. We want to share this incredible story sent to us in April from Taylor Blackburn, Development Associate at Teach For America – Jacksonville:

“Earlier this week, AmeriCorps member Samantha Parton was running softball practice at Highlands Middle School, where she teaches reading, when a player began hyperventilating. The player lost consciousness and Sam immediately called 911. While EMS was on the way the player stopped breathing and Sam couldn’t find a pulse. Sam performed CPR and rescue breathing and was able to revive her student as EMS arrived to take the student to the hospital. I am happy to report that her student is doing well and was back at school today.

“This event truly humbled us as a staff and made us aware of how important CPR/1st Aid training for our AmeriCorps members is (Sam attended our CPR/1st aid class earlier this spring). It would not have been possible without Volunteer Florida. If it was not for you all pushing us to complete these trainings Sam would not have had the skills necessary to save her student, so thank you.”

In a word, WOW. Sam’s story is truly heroic.

Even if not driven to the point of CPR, Volunteer Florida does take great pride in knowing that ALL of our AmeriCorps members are life savers in Florida’s schools. When children have someone to look up to — someone who spends that extra time helping them with their homework, someone who believes in them – it can open the door to a new life.

This week, please join us in commending our tremendous AmeriCorps members for their dedication to helping Florida’s students succeed!