Written by Jordan Palmer, proud AmeriCorps member serving the Lamar Advertising Company team at Melrose Elementary School.

As we near the end of our year as City year corps members, I wanted to get an idea of how my team members at Melrose Elementary feel about their year of service. From exciting expectations to apprehensions, from worries to advice for future corps members, the Bulldogs weigh in on the year from beginning to end.  

Shara Guarnaccia, 24 years old from Highland Park, NJ

Shara is serving her second year with City Year Baton Rouge, and is most excited about seeing the progress her students have made since she started working with them. She is most worried about a big transition into her LACY (Leadership After City Year) plan, and she is also worried about her students having to say goodbye to their City Year corps members at the end of the year. Shara wishes that spring semester would go just a little bit slower. 

Ryan Whiting, 20 years old from Ellington, CT

Ryan's LACY plan is to stay with City Year for a second year of service! Since day 1, Ryan was excited for the work we would be doing in Baton Rouge, and after being here for the year, the impact he has made with his students and school are greater than he could have imagined. This has made him even more grateful for the service opportunity City Year offers, and is why he will be returning in 2015-2016!

Jordan Palmer, 23 years old from Kansas City, MO and Cincinnati, OH

Jordan's LACY plan is actually STACY (Staying At City Year)! Her feelings about service have changed from the beginning of the year, in that she feels like she now takes more pride in serving a community that is not the community she grew up in. Jordan's advice for the incoming 2015-2016 corps is to start day one on the right foot with your teacher: explaining why you are here and what City Year is, and providing a lot of information during your first meeting to help begin with a BANG and hopefully have a great relationship. 

Christine Fuentes, 22 years old from San Diego, CA

Christine is most excited about getting back home: family is very important to her and she is excited to finally see them again. She is most worried about where life takes her after City Year. Ideally she would love to go back to school at California State University Northridge to study Communication Disorders, but she always has a back up plan to apply to work for the school system that she grew up in. During her City Year, Christine believes everything happened for a reason, and everything was a learning experience that she could take with her in the future.

Lauren Betik, 24 years old from Tomball, TX

Lauren is excited about making the last couple of weeks with her students extra special. She wishes she could have taken more leadership opportunities during her time at City Year, but she is grateful to have served this year. Her advice for the incoming corps is to grow and learn from all your experiences at City Year. Enjoy all the precious moments with your students--the year goes by quickly. 

Devon Miles, 22 years old from Newtown, CT

Devon's LACY plan is going to NYU to get her master's degree in social work. Devon sees her service very differently than when she first began her City Year-- service has become less about physical and mental effort, and more about making the most of your resources, time and team. Devon's advice for the incoming corps is "when the wind does not blow your way, adjust your sails."

Camille Vincent, 23 years old from Cleveland, OH and Baton Rouge, LA.

Camille is excited for the opportunity to work for the National Park Service and attend NC State/ UNC Chapel Hill for graduate school, where she will study Public History and Library Science. Camille is worried about leaving her students in the care of next year's City Year Corps Members (but we know they'll be great!). She would not change anything about her year at City Year-- she learned from every mistake and achievement.

Curtis Gillam, 24 years old from Hammond, LA.

Curtis is excited for the simple fact that he gets to teach and spend time with his students for 2 more months before they go to the 6th grade! He is worried about transitioning from his City Year lifestyle and being able to keep in touch with his good ole' City Year friends. Curtis has many LACY options that will help him launch his career in Financial Services or in Sales and Marketing. Every single day at City Year was a day that Curtis grew up a little more. He wants the future corps members to know that these children and your future teammates will change your life, so keep an open mind and an open heart and brace yourself for this opportunity.


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