Dr. Regan Postma-Montaño, who leads Hope College’s Step Up program for middle school students as an AmeriCorps member, has been named Michigan’s AmeriCorps Member of the Month for May.

The award was announced by the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC), which is the administrative agent for Michigan’s AmeriCorps, part of the national AmeriCorps service program.  The recognition includes a biographical sketch located on the MCSC website.

Postma-Montaño, who is also an instructor of English, has been coordinating Step Up through a two-year AmeriCorps term that concludes in August.  Her appointment with Step Up is through Faith in Youth, a partnership of eight faith-based, non-profit organizations in the Holland-Zeeland area which recruits, trains and supports AmeriCorps members in local youth programs mentoring at-risk middle school students.

As noted in the online article, she also serves on the Michigan AmeriCorps LeaderCorps as the liaison from Faith in Youth and has been active in planning activities for the program on the regional and state level.  In the article, Faith in Youth program director Scott Baumgartner said, “Regan has regularly demonstrated a strong ability to creatively lead and engage a wide variety of people…  Her program and site have greatly benefited from her commitment to making Holland a better place for everyone to live and learn in.”

Step Up provides academic support in a mentoring context to at-risk middle school students with academic need in the Holland area, and serves about 50 students a year.  It was established in 2010 as a collaboration of the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) and TRiO Upward Bound programs for elementary and high school students to serve students too old for CASA and too young for Upward Bound.

Step Up offers programming during both the school year and summer.  During the school year, the students meet with trained volunteer mentors for weekly homework and academic skill-building, as well as on-going opportunities including student-parent sessions, college visits and involvement in Tech Wizards (STEM-focused mentoring by 4H/MSU Extension).  A Michigan STEM Partnership grant this past year added to its weekly sessions by integrating STEM programming.  The four-week summer program is focused on STEM explorations through the support of The Center for Exploratory Learning at Hope and the Michigan STEM Partnership grant and an award from ExxonMobil.

More about Step Up is available in an article featured on the college’s website in March.