AmeriCorps Page Header Image


AmeriCorps members at Porter-Leath follow a rich history of achieving meaningful outcomes for thousands in Memphis and Shelby County. Since 1996, hundreds of AmeriCorps members have spent at least a year at Porter-Leath. Beginning with the early stages of the Cornerstone program and most recently investing in the lives of our Preschool students, AmeriCorps members are a vital piece of Porter-Leath. 


Over 20 AmeriCorps members spend their service year in Porter-Leath Preschools each year. Members directly serve in the classrooms and providing enrichment activities focused on literacy skills. The impact of the AmeriCorps investment will reach children in the center by providing activities that spur lessons to promote literacy and school readiness. Members prepare and lead children in activities that focus on the domains of phonological awareness, print awareness, early writing, and alphabet knowledge. By focusing on the individual needs of students, readiness scores increase, resulting in stronger classrooms and children with higher self-esteem. To learn more about becoming an AmeriCorps member at Porter-Leath, contact Richard Black at 901-577-2500 x 1182.


Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a United States citizen, US National, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age; and
  • Have a high school diploma/GED or working towards obtaining one while in the program. High school diploma/GED required before one is eligible to use the Education Award.
  • Pass a criminal record check.
  • Commit to 6, 9 or 11 months of service.
  • Reliable Transportation.
  • Able to serve a minimum of 35 hours per week.



  • Individuals pursuing a professional career in early childhood education, development or services.
  • Education, Social Service, Youth or Child Development Major.
  • 3.0 GPA in major, minimum 2.5 GPA.
  • Completion of entry-level courses.
  • Enrollment in all major or professional field related courses.
  • Experience with serving inner city residents, students, or families.
  • Working knowledge of lesson plan development.
  • Working knowledge of enrichment development.
  • Background as an academic tutor or mentor.

AmeriCorps Benefits

AmeriCorps members at Porter-Leath are eligible for the following benefits:

  • A monthly living allowance
  • Free Healthcare Benefits Plan
  • Workers' Compensation
  • A childcare subsidy
  • An education awardupon successful completion of hours
  • Loan forbearance or deferment for qualified student loans
  • Payment of interest on qualified student loans
  • Professional skills development for non-profit or public sector career


Former Porter-Leath AmeriCorps member celebrates a correct answer with a student at Covington Pike Head Start. 


Since 1996, hundreds of AmeriCorps members have served those most in need in Shelby County. Beginning with the Cornerstone program, members served as home visitors delivering the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youth (HIPPY) curricula. The program routinely achieved a +94% healthy birth weight rate of at least 5.5 lbs each year when externally evaluated by the University of Tennessee College of Health Sciences. This led the way to our current team of professional home visitors, who have built upon the foundation set by AmeriCorps members, by delivering the evidence-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum. 

Today, Porter-Leath Preschool children entering the school year behind on initial assessments are assigned for individual and small group enrichment activities with AmeriCorps members from the Generations program, so that these children can receive additional learning support.

The Brigance assessment provides details about a child’s mastery of developmental and academic skills. Of the Porter-Leath Head Start and Pre-K children tested for skill mastery, students saw gains in mastery of all domains. (NOTE: End of year assessments were not administered in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Porter-Leath Early Head Start, for children ages 0-3 years old, measures child-level achievement with the E-LAP assessment, which focuses on six core domains: Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Cognition, Language, Self-Help, and Social-Emotional. Results from the 2019-2020 Early Head Start academic year shows consistent growth in all six domains.

On average, children receiving support from AmeriCorps members expanded their Language Development skills by 11% throughout the year. While children are selected to receive AmeriCorps services based on demonstrating lower literacy and language skills at the beginning of the year, these children showed slightly higher growth in their language skills compared to their peers who did not receive support from AmeriCorps members.

Click here to view the complete report.

Explore More Programs View Programs

Volunteer Tennessee's mission is to encourage volunteerism and community service. Click the image below to learn how Tennesseans are serving their community and to become involved in local volunteer efforts.

Visit Volunteer Tennessee's Website!

AmeriCorps seeks to harness the energy and idealism of Americans who are dedicated to making their communities -- and this country -- a better place for all of us to live. Click the image below to learn more!

Visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website!