5 things AmeriCorps members should expect from City Year
City Year is one of those experiences where you get what you put in. Basic Training Academy is a fun time where we spend three weeks learning about the culture, our fellow teams, and all that City Year has to offer. But there might be a few things you may need to know just before your experience begins.
You are here to SERVE
There are three main areas City Year focuses on with school partnerships and that’s Attendance, Behavior, and Core Subjects (Math and Literacy). Depending on your school partnership, the work may vary in different forms and duties. For example one AmeriCorps member (ACM) may be in the main office making phone calls to students homes informing their parents about their child’s attendance while at another school the ACM responsibility is to encourage the students to come to school every day and help by setting expectations for students, a challenge, or anything to motivate the student to come to school.
The money just isn’t enough
Unless you are staying at home with your parents and don’t have major bills, you will have financial struggles. Remember we are being paid a stipend, not salary. I wouldn’t advise an ACM to get a second job right away. Get a feel for your workday at your partner school first, then make the decision to get a second job or not.
You will meet amazing, well-connected people
City Year is filled with amazing people that are from around the world and you just never know who they may know. I am grateful to be surrounded by people who are different from me and bring great experiences to the table. I have met friends that inspired me to go after big dreams, helped me with applications for jobs, and encouraged me to take interest in leadership positions for City Year. So if you’re a social butterfly that loves to make friends, you’re in the right place.
Sometimes we just get tired, no matter what we’re doing. It’s expected, but your students also expect for you to keep your commitment and remember your “why”. When those long days and paychecks begin to not make the experience “worth it” remember why you started. Remember why you chose to serve. Remember the kids you made a commitment too. No one said that this would be a luxury year of service. It’s hard, not just for you but for your students too. It’s important that you know your why and that you remember it every time the long days and paychecks just don’t add up.
I didn’t expect City Year to pour so much into me. From LACY (Leadership After City Year) plans to 1on1s with my Impact Manager and Team Leader. City Year Baton Rouge listens to their ACMs. I’ve grown so much as a person and as a leader. Utilize the resources that are given to you and take advantage of the leadership positions that City Year has to offer for ACMs. This will be an experience that will mold you into a better person all around if you allow it too.
I hope that these tips can help you gain a better insight into what your AmeriCorps member year can look like and what to look forward too. Like previously stated, your experience may look like different from the next ACM, but it all depends on you.