New position opens door for AmeriCorps service

2011-05-19T00:00:00Z New position opens door for AmeriCorps serviceBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | When her husband, a Valparaiso native, got a job in Valparaiso two years ago, the couple arrived too late for Gina Wagenblast to get a teaching job despite her 15 years of experience and a master's degree.

She worked as an aide with disadvantaged students for a year, but last summer she was contacted about a new position. Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Andrew Melin wanted a parent coordinator through the AmeriCorps program.

"The goal of the job is to increase parental involvement in the school," Wagenblast said. "This community already has great functioning parent-teacher groups, but it was a great opportunity to volunteer in an area I'm passionate about."

Since starting in August, she has expanded the position, meeting regularly with the parent-teacher group presidents to get and share ideas. Among other things, she created Viking University, which gives parents a better understanding of how the schools operate.

She has organized seminars and workshops and recently held a session for parents of incoming kindergartners. She started a weekly column in The Times written by different school officials and is coordinating the mentoring program, for which she is looking for more adults who can provide guidance on careers and other issues.

"I think AmeriCorps really gives you an opportunity to give back to the community," Wagenblast said. "The school district might have the idea for something like this, but AmeriCorps gives it a chance to look at it to see how it goes. It's a way to get more people involved with the youth in the schools."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



About Valparaiso

City of Valparaiso
166 Lincolnway Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-1161

Police Department
355 S. Washington St. Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-2135

Fire Department
2605 Cumberland Drive Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-8325

Parks & Recreation
3210 North Campbell Street Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) 462-5144

Valparaiso Community Schools
3801 N. Campbell St. Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) 531-3000

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses