by Janae Babineaux, AmeriCorps Member on the Albemarle Foundation team at Merrydale Elementary School

As corps members, team leaders, and staff alike, PITWs are the anecdotes of our service. They are our little reminders and our teachers that lead us to serve as our very-best self in our schools and our communities. PITWs define the values, goals, and expectations of City Year and outline the foundation on which our service exists. This week I asked my team to examine their experience and choose a PITW that exemplifies an aspect of their service this year.

Corps members Kimberly Peterson and Kimberly Ratte (unknowingly) both chose 

PITW #85: “Celebrate Achievement”

Ms. Kimberly Peterson believes that, “Students are just like adults. It takes a while for us to improve ourselves and that is, only if we have the desire to do so in the first place. I have seen two students in particular that have shown great improvement. Recently, a student who has had continuous behavior problems wanted to complete all of his work. Another, displayed that she was not going to give up on herself and try harder in class. Keep in mind this was only one day, however, this progress meant the world to me.”

For Kimberly Ratte, she also feels that no matter the magnitude of progress, we must celebrate all victories. “Whether it be a student who has gone five days with good behavior, or an academic focus list student who has just received all hundreds on their last ELA assessment.” She congratulates them on their achievements, no matter how small it may be. Just recently, she was able to celebrate with one of her focus list students who had raised all her grades and achieved Honor Roll for the first time ever! 

Corps member Silas Miller chose

PITW #103: "Send out tiny ripples of hope"  

“You need to be cautious of how you act and your attitude always.  Everything you do sends out little ripples and your actions can indirectly affect a huge number of people without you even realizing it. I strive to send out ripples of hope by keeping a positive attitude always.”

Corps member Cassidy Bowers chose

PITW #101: “The Ideal Service Metaphor is to Act like Water. “

“We help once limp minds become vibrant and ready to learn. Like water to soil, we make hard hearts soften. Service is necessary for life, as water is, and service must go to the lowest point in order to be most helpful. We can be kind as a drizzle in the dessert and as powerful as a hurricane when needed.”

Corps member Amber Curry chose

PITW #53: “Set Very High Expectations for Yourself and Others-Especially People You are Leading.”

“This is one of my favorite PITWs because it reminds me that I must set high expectations for my students. Many of the students that I am privileged to work with have had low standards set for them. I believe that this is an extreme disservice because by expecting less from the students, giving them answers, and or making excuses for them, their opportunity to learn and grow is being taken away. During my interventions I strive to set high expectations and standards and more often than not they pleasantly surprise me by meeting or exceeding the expectation.”

Corps member Zachary Smith chose

PITW #93: “Celebrate All Holidays”

“It's important to not only embrace your culture, but also the cultures around you. You might find a Holiday that you really like. How will you know unless you try all of them?” It’s important to note here that Zach and Cassidy started a World Culture’s Club for our after-school program. This allows students to explore different areas of the world and learn everything from the history of these countries to the music, food and customs of the people that live there! 

Corps member Mr. Tavidee Hoskins chose

PITW # 46: “Be a clock builder, not just a time teller.”

“We tend to take a quantitative appraisal of success and ignore the budding victories we were the catalyst of. Our goal should not be to throw as much as we can at these students hoping something sticks; our goal should be teaching them how to catch. Foundations are upon which all monuments are built.  Not enough people focus on laying foundations.”

Team Leader Tyler Wands chose

PITW #13: “Every Important Task Gets a Team!”

“The team aspect of almost everything within City Year is what I love the most.  While working on things by yourself can be highly gratifying, working on something with your teammates is that much more rewarding because your team was able to accomplish something together.  The teams I have been on in the past have inspired me to come back for more, the teams I am on now consist of some of the greatest people I have ever met and the teams I will be on in the future have enormous expectations set for them.”

Impact Manager Jonathan Morris chose 

PITW #160: “Seek to Have a Hard Head and a Soft Heart."

“This sage excerpt is integral to not only our service, but in all that we do in everyday life. A hard head is a kind of disciplined stubbornness where it is used to stay strong in the face of adversity, to remain positive and to stay courageous enough to work with integrity. A soft heart is the complementary force to a hard head. A soft heart is having empathy for everyone who is connected to us whether it is someone we are close friends with, someone who has done us a disservice or those we little understand. “

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