AmeriCorps VISTA - Project Cygnet

What is AmeriCorps and Project Cygnet?

AmeriCorps is a federal program designed to fight poverty in America. Millersville University's Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM) is the 2015-2016 host site of the AmeriCorps VISTA Project Cygnet to build and strengthen partnerships between the University, the School District of Lancaster, and community organizations. Millersville University students mentor, tutor and coach children in after-school programs to support Project Cygnet's mission to alleviate poverty by increasing children’s academic achievement.


How Do I Get Involved?

We seek students from all majors to work with children in any capacity they choose and create a schedule that fits your availability. Our community partners demonstrate a variety of tasks and opportunities to be fulfilled by Millersville volunteers. They include but are not limited to:

  • Providing children tutoring and academic enrichment services
  • Implementing recreational activities with children through sports, art, dance, creative writing/slam poetry, computer classes, chess, etc.
  • Expanding their programming and allow them to engage student interests.

Please contact Mike Renaldi, AmeriCorps PACC*VISTA Project Cygnet Coordinator, at 717-871-7635 or at for more details.

How Will I Make a Difference?

After-school programs provide a safe and fun environment to receive academic enrichment and engage in extracurricular activities. Millersville student volunteers provide important stability and support for youth. After-school programs require additional help to support student needs and increasing the number of tutors and mentors allows the program to run more effectively and increase their presence in the community.

Volunteers from Millersville University provide crucial academic skills to students that may receive little help otherwise. They reinforce skills learned throughout the day and add their wealth of knowledge to help students complete their homework. 

Millersville University students and Project Cygnet already made a positive impact in our community.

In 2013-2014, over 200 school children received tutoring and mentoring services.

  • 83% tested proficient and/or improved in core subject areas/PSSAs
  • 92% showed increased academic engagement

Over 80 Millersville University students volunteered in the project.

  • 60 provided direct service by tutoring, mentoring and instructing
  • 22 provided indirect service by conducting evaluations, research and publicity campaigns

Millersville University students volunteered nearly 3,000 hours of service in 2013-2014.

Millersville University student volunteers enhanced their personal and professional goals and were highly satisfied with their volunteer experience (Post-Volunteer Survey, 2014.)

In 2014-2015, over 100 school children received tutoring and mentoring services

  • 63% tested proficient and/or improved in core subject areas/PSSAs
  • 44% showed increased academic engagement

66 Millersville University students volunteered in the project

  • 60 provided direct service by tutoring and mentoring
  • 6 provided indirect service by conducting evaluations, research and publicity campaigns

Millersville University student volunteered nearly 1,000 hours of service in 2014-2015

Who Are Our Community Partners?

Project Cygnet currently partners with:

  • The Mix at Arbor Place – is a faith-based after-school program that gives homework help, tutoring, enrichment activities, recreational opportunities, and hot meals to children. Program operation times: Monday Open Tutoring: 3-5:30 PM; Tuesday-Thursday: 3:00-6:30 PM; Friday Open Gym: 3:00-5:00 PM; Saturday currently tentative but hoping to provide SAT Prep classes.
  • Attollo Prep - a college access program dedicated to preparing children for a track to success and commitment to higher education outcomes for Lancaster City youth. The program operates Monday-Thursday from 3:30-7:30 PM.
  • Manor Heights- focused on providing tutoring and enrichment to students in the Penn Manor School District. This new program provides the opportunity for Millersville student volunteers to implement extracurricular programs based on their interests. Tentative Hours/Days of Operation: 3:45-6:00 PM on Monday and Wednesday.
  • Heads-Up Lancaster- empowers urban students through relationships and innovative education experiences to discover their God-given potential. The program operates Monday-Thursday from 3:30-5:30 PM.
  • Faith Tabernacle Transformation and Development- a faith-based weekly homework help program dedicated to improving the academics of youth in the community. The program operates from 5:00-7:00 PM on Mondays.
  • Future Generations at First Presbyterian Church- the program includes recreational, educational and service-learning activities. Academic tutoring and homework time are key parts of the program. It runs from October-May, Mon.-Thurs. from 3:00-6:00 PM

 Kim Mai at The Mix