By Terio Ruiz
Studied at LMU, Screenwriting and African American Studies
City Year Los Angeles Alumni

At Loyola Marymount University, I was active in many student groups, including President of the Black Student Union, member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Campus Resident Advisor, mentor and Recruitment Director at CollegeSpring. I gained the necessary leadership experience and learned how to work on a team in order to carry out shared responsibilities. I can say without a doubt, developing these skills prepared me for my service year with City Year Los Angeles at Jefferson High.

Mentoring with CollegeSpring taught me the importance of developing relationships with students in order to motivate them to progress scholastically. It was also my first experience using data to identify the academic areas that my students struggled with most and how to help them improve.

I applied to City Year because I wanted to help students work toward a future after graduation. I went to public high school in South Central Los Angeles and it was my experience that many students did not set goals to work toward after graduation. As a result, I watched a high number of my peers drop out of school because they had nothing to strive for.

As a City Year AmeriCorps members, I worked with a student that I feared was heading down the same path. She didn’t seem to care about passing her classes. But after working one-on-one with her and developing her trust, I noticed that she started paying attention in class and completing her assignments. I am confident that she will pass her math class with at least a C or better. This passing grade will help put her track as she starts her junior year. It’s hard to explain how proud I feel to have worked with her and seen her transformation from an unmotivated student to a high achiever.

Currently, I work as an Outreach Worker for the Community Coalition, a social justice nonprofit organization based in South LA that aims to change the social and economic conditions in the community that foster crime, poverty and drug addiction. I am in charge of creating and maintaining outreach efforts to inform South LA residents about public policies that benefit Black and Latino communities.

In my current role, I am using skills that I gained at City Year: teamwork, cooperation and relationship building. I work with other outreach workers to collect and enter critical data and canvass door to door to let the community know the services that are available to them. I cooperate with my teammates to ensure that we each understand our roles and expectations clearly. I build relationships to figure out how to use each other's strengths and improve upon each other's weaknesses. I know this is only the beginning of a lifetime of working to make a difference.


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