By Anasa Payne
City Year Miami ‘16 - ‘17
Educator. Advisor. Role Model. As City Year AmeriCorps members, we play many roles in our students lives. They’re our highest priority. We help set the tone for a positive, enriching environment. But, what do our students make of this? What do they say to their classmates when they see those red or yellow jackets in the classrooms and hallways of their school? Here’s what a few of our students said they valued about their AmeriCorps members:
Be the Best You
“I feel like City Year is a great group of people who help students become better people and overcome their insecurities,” Amanda*, a 9th-grade student said. “City Year is cool, understanding, outgoing, motivating, active, positive, and intelligent. They teach us to be ourselves.”
Amanda is a bright student. In our small-group learning sessions, she is eager to share her answers to questions. It’s great that she’s ready and willing to share what she knows. However, it doesn't always give other students the opportunity to share their knowledge. Currently, she is working on embodying a “no one speaks twice until everyone speaks once” attitude and is growing more respectful of incorporating her classmate’s voices to ensure that everyone has been heard.
Set and Achieve Goals
“The reason I appreciate City Year is because they are very helpful. City Year makes me feel I can really do better and achieve my goals,” Liam*, a 10th-grade student said.
Liam is an inquisitive student of mine and I absolutely love his curiosity. He’d ask me what college life was like, how to invest money, how he could get into a real estate career, and even recently, what it would take to get into firefighting academy.
Today, Liam is more self-sufficient by taking his future into his own hands by researching on his own what he wants to do after high school. And that makes me so happy! I know the goal setting skills he’s learned will carry him far, no matter what career path he chooses.
Breakthrough Moments Are Built on Respect
“On any given day, I appreciate City Year for always approaching me to see how I’m doing. The way they talk to me tells me that they respect me,” Addison*, a 9th-grade student said.
At the beginning of the school year, Addison wasn’t too fond of City Year. She wouldn’t exchange many words with me. However, that didn’t stop me from getting to know her and taking an interest in her as both a person and a student. During lunch, I’d sit with her and her friends. When we’d have an event on campus, I’d let her know about it so she could bring her friends. Once she realized that I was there in order for her to succeed, she came around.
Now, she doesn’t hesitate to greet me when she sees me every morning.
A Listening Ear
Melanie* is a new student of mine who happens to fit right in with her peers. She’s an outspoken individual who can do anything she puts her mind to. Not to mention, Melanie is already a young City Year in the making. She looks out for her friends by helping them get on track when they seem to lose focus.
“I appreciate City Year because they always are here to help throughout my difficulties. They’re nice and are always on the sideline as a person you can talk to about anything,” Melanie shared. “I love their positive attitudes. They’re always hyped.”
She probably doesn’t know this, but I’m one of her biggest fans already. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. I’ll continue to cheer on Melanie as she continues to do the same for me!
When the day comes to an end, I believe that our work doesn’t stop. Every child or individual that we come in contact with will need guidance, love, and support. I believe our time spent living should be about how much did we do for others, spreading ripples of hope.
It’s like Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”
*Name has been changed to protect student privacy