By Jake Roth, AmeriCorps member serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal team with Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Photo by Kayla Parr '15, of the MFS Investment Management team with McCormack Middle School
“Mr. Roth, you must have a lot of patience to do City Year,” said Taylor* during our last period Biology class at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, MA. I humbly agree with Taylor’s point. Patience is important through long and arduous days of service. It’s also true that in order to serve and support our students effectively, City Year AmeriCorps members must exercise patience to the best of our abilities. However, her perception of patience—although an astute observation during a difficult discussion of macromolecules and their functions—should be qualified with a much larger value that guides my service with City Year: Social Justice for All.
At City Year, we remind ourselves each day of the inequities in the society in which we live. It would be a disservice to our students if we did not think critically about the systemic and institutional barriers our students—as well as their communities—face on a daily basis. We therefore use our service as a set of concrete opportunities to encourage and bolster academic and social-emotional empowerment through promoting educational equality and equity. In doing so, we endeavor to seek social justice for all so that our students may reach their highest potential. And the virtue of patience intersects with that ideal because social justice is not remedied quickly. With these ideas in mind, it wasn’t too difficult to reply to Taylor’s comment in Biology that day. I responded, “Thanks Taylor! It’s easy to be patient when I care about your success.”
*Name changed to protect student privacy