Dec. 11 , 2006
Delano's Roufs part of Teach for America program
By Judy Korn
Delano native Tiffany Roufs has returned to Minnesota from New York to work with Teach for America.
Roufs, the daughter of James and Jeannine Roufs of Delano, began her Teach for America service last year in New York, but returned to Minnesota to serve as a senior recruitment associate.
She organizes outreach to 11 colleges, including the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM).
“Our team seeks the best and brightest college students around the country,” said Roufs, who graduated from UMM last year. “I manage the logistics of bringing outreach directors, corps members, and alumni to campuses to connect with students, and I also assist new recruitment associates.”
Teach for America’s mission is two-fold: to provide outstanding educational opportunities to students in low-income communities, and to influence educational change.
The non-profit group, that has been in existence 16 years, recruits high-achieving college graduates with strong leadership skills to teach for two years in disadvantaged schools.
The pay is nominal, but according to Roufs, the payback is phenomenal.
Roufs shared that her work is beyond rewarding, and said, “Last year my two-person team saw nearly 80 college seniors join Teach for America. Those people will affect nearly 6,400 students across the country this year. My end result is making a positive difference in the lives of children and our nation’s future.”
For Roufs, a theatre major, UMM’s emphasis on critical thinking and leadership influenced her decision. Roufs described her work as both incredibly fulfilling and extremely frustrating.
For Roufs, the hardest part of her work is the lack of awareness.
“I know there would be more outrage and action if more people were aware that, by the age of nine, children in low-income communities are often three grade levels behind their wealthy counterparts,” she said. “This problem is unacceptable, and there is something we can do about it.”
For Teach for America, the short-term answer to the problem is to offer recent college graduates like Roufs the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young students.
The long-term solution is found in Teach for America alumni, who serve as agents for educational change in their communities and in their careers long after their two-year commitment has been completed.
Last year, nearly 19,000 college seniors applied to Teach for America. Less than one in five were chosen to serve.
“My theory as to why this number grows is because my generation believes that we have something to give in order to improve this nation and the lives of its citizens. Teach for America is passionate, dedicated, and driven and demands the same from me every day.”