2016-04-14

By Rosie Levenson, AmeriCorps member serving on the Bain Capital team with Blackstone Innovation School

An essential part of being a City Year AmeriCorps member is being on a team. I serve on a team of 12 AmeriCorps members, one team leader, and one impact manager. Going into my service, I was excited to be a part of a team and commit to a cause greater than myself, but I never deeply considered what that really meant and looked like. Throughout my high school and college career, I frequently served in leadership roles for a variety of clubs and organizations to make a well functioning cog. I assumed that being in a leadership position for a club would feel exactly the same as serving on a City Year team.

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out, I had never really served on a team before. Not the kind of team that City Year fosters, that’s for sure. I had never been on a sports team before, or a situation where people need to truly be dependent on each other for support and act as one consistent, coherent group.

A successful day as a  City Year AmeriCorps member is a day where my team is making effective change, together. Being a part of a team starts before the school day even begins, when Kyra offers to pick up coffee, or Caitlin and I check in on how each other are feeling. This continues throughout the day as I constantly pop into my other AmeriCorps member’s classroom for support- whether it be emotional support after a tough situation with a kid, or another ear to bounce ideas off of.

Being a team member doesn’t stop when the school day ends. A big part of being an AmeriCorps member is also running successful extended day programs. For the first part of after school, I work on a team of three as we guide 5th-graders through homework hour. Homework hour requires my teammates and I to be consistent about behavior and work expectations for our students.

After homework hour, teamwork is even more essential when we move into enrichment.  There, my 11 other teammates and I must manage a large group of 40 students, seeing to their safe enjoyment of various extended day enrichment activities.

Being an intuitive, sensitive member of a team is important during enrichment. We need to be able to pick up on each other's nonverbal cues, such as Maggie’s body language that she might need help, Adriana’s eye contact indicating that a student next to me needs to be made aware of something, or even Kunal’s smile of a success with a student. Understanding each other's nonverbal cues allows us to better navigate whole group management, while also providing necessary extra support to certain students.

My City Year teammates are not just other AmeriCorps members who serve at the Blackstone Innovation School with me. They are also my family: my slightly crazy, hug-and-coffee addicted family of fellow idealists who provide innumerable support and mental sanity. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
 


My City Year teammates are not just other AmeriCorps members who serve at the Blackstone Innovation School with me. They are also my family: my slightly crazy, hug-and-coffee addicted family of fellow idealists who provide innumerable support and mental sanity. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


 

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