2014-04-18

By Yaovi Jondoh, corps member serving on the PTC team 

Eli* is a student I will always remember even after my corps year. Eli is inquisitive, funny, and loves being around his friends. Eli loves people, loves his little brother, and cannot go a day without making someone laugh.

Without knowing it, Eli truly has had a great impact on my corps year and will be remembered as the student I've always wanted to fully understand. The extended day program begins promptly at 2:30 p.m., and Eli is always one of the first students to walk into the room. Our program starts with a little game and, although Eli may not always participate in these games, he does seem very eager to join the group.

Eli is also one the students I tutor academically every day, and he sometimes struggles to keep him focused while working on assignments. Brimming with energy, it is understandably challenging for him to sit down for long periods without finding distractions. With that in mind, Eli has shown excellent growth in recent weeks. He is very enthusiastic about coming to the extended day program and has been doing much better retaining focus on his assignments.

The first time I saw a change in Eli was while working on a math problem with him. While his peers had a little hard time getting the work done, Eli seemed to be at ease with his work and finished the assignment before the rest of the students. The completion become a source of pride for him. That day, he was able to accomplish two full homework assignments, which was a huge difference from the amount of work he usually finished.

What changed? One technique that has worked well, especially with math, is timing him to see how long it will take him to finish his problem set. It presents a short-term challenge for him with an immediate reward: beating his previous times. Ultimately, my hope is that these short-term victories will lead to long-term habits.

Eli is the type of students who puts a smile on your face without trying. Without him, my corps year would not be the same. When I look back on my year of service in June, it will be moments I spent with Eli that make me smile and fondly remember my year of service with City Year—watching him grow and overcome challenges while still maintaining a positive outlook is nothing less than a joy.

Want to read about the progress our other students are making? 
*names changed to protect student privacy

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