The Reverend Marrice Coverson is the Founder of the Institute for Positive Living and the Executive Director of the Open Book Program, a citywide, after-school literacy initiative for adolescents. With more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit field, Ms. Coverson has held a number of positions including Center Director of the Chicago Youth Centers, Elliott Donnelley Youth Center, and Director of the West Side Learning Center at Malcolm X College. Ms. Coverson has conducted workshops on Board Development and Self-Development in Illinois, Ohio, Maine and Texas.
Ms. Coverson is a recipient of the Women of Excellence Black Pearl Award and the Community Leadership Award from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her essay, “For the Love of Reading,” appears in Turn the Page and You Don’t Stop (2006).
Ms. Coverson holds a MA in Religious Studies from the Chicago Theological Seminary, a BA in Sociology from Mississippi Valley State University, and a MA in Public Administration from Roosevelt University. She received training in Adlerian Treatment Concepts from the Alfred Adler Institute. Ms. Coverson is the Pastor of the Church of the Spirit in Chicago - the first female and African American to hold that position. Ms. Coverson is also the first African American since 1924 to hold a Trustee position on the Board of Directors of National Spiritualist Association (NSAC) of Church’s Board of Directors.
Artists and Teachers
Open Book artists conduct the daily arts instruction. They apply their own expertise and creative methods to the Open Book curriculum. Artists create a safe space for artistic expression and expose youth to creativity as a means of experiencing literature. Artists introduce the Literature Circles and the Open Book Journal, incorporating these tools in drama or media activities. They also prepare students to interview the authors and guide students as they prepare and perform book excerpts.
Open Book teachers provide the necessary link between the school and the Open Book artists. Teachers act as the stabilizing energy providing support to the artist-led creative projects by leading the reading and discussion portion of Open Book. Teachers recruit students for the Open Book program, assist with pre and post-testing and encourage students’ active participation. They also assist students with journal writing.
Parent participation is mandatory in the Open Book Program. In addition to attending an orientation meeting, parents agree to attend at least two sessions during the program. During these sessions, parents assist Open Book artists and teachers and take part in student reading groups and activities. Parents also volunteer as chaperons for Open Book field trips.
The Open Book program also employs various volunteers from community service programs and nearby universities like the Illinois Institute of Technology, Columbia College Chicago, and Chicago State University. College students, community residents and corporate volunteers act as role models for students in the Open Book Program. Their interest in reading and related drama, video, Internet and writing activities provide an extra incentive for student participants.
How to Volunteer
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