Creative Artists Agency Foundation and AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteering and service, in collaboration with leading service organizations MENTOR, VolunteerMatch, schoolhouse.world, and the U.S. Department of Education, announced READY SET, a national tutor, mentor, and service recruitment campaign designed to address learning and relational loss among K-12 public school students in the U.S., particularly in historically marginalized communities.
The web and social media campaign is designed to meet critical learning needs and create a volunteer pipeline for the academic year ahead and will run through September 2021. AmeriCorps, which engages hundreds of thousands of people each year in service in 40,000 communities nationwide, is actively recruiting national service members and volunteers to build a service safety net for children who need academic and social support.
“AmeriCorps’ programs that teach, tutor, and mentor students in underserved communities are crucial to keeping students engaged, especially as hybrid schooling models continue across the country,” said Mal Coles, AmeriCorps Acting Chief Executive Officer. “Ready Set Serve is an opportunity for Americans to raise their hands to serve their communities. They can help mentor students to higher academic achievement, keep them on track to graduate, inspire creativity with STEM and robotics programs, or even design cost-effective solutions that support teachers and tutors.”
“We have a critical opportunity to immediately address the gap between what students need now and what resources are available to them,” said CAA Foundation executive and former drop-out prevention nonprofit director Deborah Marcus. “READY SET is a call to action to be a part of a national student support network, galvanizing Americans to bring their hearts and minds to supporting children, many from low-income and historically marginalized communities, and nurturing their full academic, social and emotional well-being.”
Through partnerships with consumer brands and leading live entertainment and travel benefits provider Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG), new volunteers will gain access to exclusive incentives in recognition for providing much-needed guidance to students across America. EBG, serving more than 40,000 corporate clients and reaching more than 50 million employees, will also help brand marketers create tailored incentive programs to engage their respective customers and employees. Incentives may include discounted theme park and attraction tickets, special offers on hotels and rental cars, as well as live events, sports, and concert tickets, and much more. Brand partners will additionally use their powerful voices to amplify campaign messages.
“Students have been stuck behind their laptops for the better part of a year, so we must dedicate as many resources as possible to meet them where they are and re-engage them this summer and as we look towards the fall,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Through this new program and partnership, we have the opportunity to reach students across the country – particularly those in communities hardest hit by the pandemic – and provide them the support they need through creative, engaging mentoring programs. I encourage anyone who can to step up and serve their community to take part in this program and mentor a young student.”
READY SET’s web and social-media-centered campaign will raise awareness of the current demand for volunteers, directing candidates to www.getreadyset.org, where potential volunteers can learn about relevant tutoring, mentoring and service opportunities. Depending on one’s interest, activation happens through VolunteerMatch’s global digital volunteering infrastructure; unifying champion of youth mentoring, MENTOR; the federal agency for national service and volunteering, AmeriCorps; or peer tutoring platform from Sal Khan, schoolhouse.world.
“Our mission as a company is to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential,” said Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. “We are thrilled to support READY SET alongside these meaningful corporations and organizations to promote volunteerism and to make a powerful impact on the futures of many.”
The READY SET advisory board of prominent education and philanthropic thought leaders include U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona; former U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan; Dream Corps founder and CNN contributor Van Jones; founder of online education platform Khan Academy and co-founder of schoolhouse.world Sal Khan; Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington; former Chancellor of the DC Public School System and Founder and CEO of Reconstruction, Kaya Henderson; Education Leaders of Color CEO Sharhonda Bossier; MENTOR CEO David Shapiro; DonorsChoose CEO Charles Best; and CAA Co-Chairman Richard Lovett.
Brand and nonprofit supporters include the Annenberg Learner; television host, author, and changemaker Van Jones’ Dream Corps; hyperlocal social networking service Nextdoor; the leading global toy and family entertainment company Mattel; audio-first media and entertainment company Cumulus Media; education nonprofit DonorsChoose; behavior change technology company Thrive Global; nonprofit Education Leaders of Color; global volunteer organization Points of Light; children’s literacy nonprofit Reading Partner; education non-profit Communities In Schools, Inc., and creative partner RADCAT.design.
READY SET builds upon the CAA Foundation’s rich history of forging relationships that help brands and artists leverage their influence to further social change. In March 2021, the CAA Foundation hosted a virtual summit on public education to focus on what could be done to prevent a generation of “lost” students. In response to the pandemic continuing to significantly impact communities and student enrollment nationwide, the event outlined action steps the public could take to help address the crisis. Featured speakers included U.S. Secretary of Education Cardona in conversation with former U.S. education secretaries Duncan and Dr. John B. King, Jr. Other appearances included Emmy-nominated Actress and Save the Children Ambassador, Jennifer Garner, and leading entertainment figures Yara Shahidi, Anthony Ramos, and Edward James Olmos.