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by Ryan Arthur, Midwest Regional Admissions Manager

Prior to working at City Year, I was an assistant cross country and track coach for Missouri Southern State University. Much like City Year, the atmosphere was very team oriented. I noticed that the first week of practice was a huge struggle for the freshman. They were running more miles, faster than they ever had before, but they also were trying to adapt to living on their own, going to class and trying to make new friends.

As a coach, I wanted the most out of my athletes and saw that I could eliminate some of these struggles before they even reported for their first day of practice. As soon an athlete signed their letter of commitment, I added them to a private Facebook group so they could immediately feel like part of the team. When the first day of practice arrived, I noticed that the freshman had one less thing to worry about and their transition was much easier.

With City Year, we try to do the same thing. When you accept your offer to serve with us, you’ll be invited to join a special, private Facebook group that allows you to connect with other AmeriCorps members with whom you’ll be working. The main goals of the Confirmed AmeriCorps Member Facebook groups are:

Make friends before your official first day of service

When we asked current City Year AmeriCorps members what they wish they would have done differently prior to serving, they often tell us that they wished they took advantage of the Facebook group to meet their teammates earlier. We’ll help break the ice so that you can get to know each other! And maybe you’ll even find a roommate or two.

Share important information

Your transition to becoming a successful City Year AmeriCorps member begins the moment you return your letter of intent to serve. Immediately, you’re part of our City Year team and we want you to feel comfortable and welcomed. We’ll help you become more familiar with City Year-isms and the cities, communities and students you’ll be serving.

If you’re new to this city, we'll also help you be able to navigate the city like a local and provide suggestions for neighborhoods to apartment hunt in. We can share insights on public transportation, great places to explore (stipend friendly, of course) and suggest our favorite restaurants.

We’ll share resources and articles (like this one) to help you understand more about what you’ll be doing as a City Year AmeriCorps member. 

The group is one place where you can check in about steps you need to take before you officially start service (find housing and roommates, complete paperwork, etc.) We’ll also remind you of important dates, deadlines or events.  

In addition to logistical and local information, we’ll help you get more acquainted with the benefits of joining City Year (like the Segal Education Award, your stipend, and professional development). 

This Facebook group is yours, so feel free to post questions, comments, share stories and thoughts along the way. No question is a bad question. More than likely, someone else is wondering the same thing.

Not on Facebook? Don’t worry. We offer other opportunities to learn about your site and teammates before your first day of service. Keep an eye out for our newsletters and local events! You can also follow your site on Instagram to learn more about the community and students you’ll be serving.

City Year AmeriCorps Members in their red bomber jackets on opening day in Milwaukee by the water.

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in January 2016. It has been updated and reposted here. 

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