This guest blog post was written by Miranda Mueller, AmeriCorps Member with Horizon Education Centers Derrick Speights began his AmeriCorps service term at the Lakewood facility of Horizon Education Centers (HEC) in September 2020. In his role as an AmeriCorps Member, Derrick provides support to teachers through assistance with activities and lessons, and engages with children through the development of social-emotional and literacy skills. His responsibilities also include outreach to families through the creation of monthly e-newsletters and events such as virtual ‘Parent Meeting Night’. As an AmeriCorps Member, Derrick has enjoyed reading to and with the children, and partaking in their play time. He has quickly become a favorite of the children at HEC- Lakewood, often being referred to affectionately as “Mr. Derrick” or even “Uncle Derrick”. When Derrick is not serving with AmeriCorps, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. He also loves collecting fun socks and has even taken to competing with children at HEC- Lakewood in sock contests. After the completion of his service term in August 2021, Derrick plans to continue to serve his local community in “any and every way” which promotes unity and equality. However, he is hopeful he can remain connected to Horizon Education Centers and carry forward assisting "children with their social and emotional growth”. About Horizon Education Centers' AmeriCorps Program: 22 AmeriCorps members provide academic enrichment and social-emotional engagement in the cities of Cleveland, Elyria, Lorain, and North Olmsted, Ohio. During their service year, AmeriCorps members are responsible for improving social-emotional skills among students served. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 100 volunteers who will be engaged in National Days of Service, supporting community collaboratives, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. For more information about the program, contact Nicolle Bellmore Pierse.