be_ixf;ym_202407 d_13; ct_100 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

How would society be positively impacted by more AmeriCorps members in schools?

The best part of my role as an Impact Director with City Year Greater Boston is the opportunity to visit the incredible schools and teams of AmeriCorps members on a regular basis. At the beginning of the school year, AmeriCorps members are assigned to school teams, as well as one of three cohorts: Love, Adventure and Joy. These cohorts serve as mini communities for the year and come from PITW, a collection of wise words City Year has accumulated over the years. PITW = Putting Idealism to Work.

PITW #98 reads: “All People – Especially Young People – Need the Same 11 Things: Meaning, Adventure, Community, Power, Safety, Respect, Structure, Challenge, Opportunity, Joy and Love.”  The Love Cohort, the cohort that I am lucky enough to support, is made up of 6 schools: Brighton High School, Burke High School, Charlestown High School, Excel High School, Boston Green Academy and Young Achievers Academy.

“All People- Especially Young People- Need the Same 11 Things: Meaning, Adventure, Community, Power, Safety, Respect, Structure, Challenge, Opportunity, Joy and Love.”

When I think of the ways our society would be positively impacted by having more AmeriCorps members in schools, I think of those 11 things. Young people, both students and the AmeriCorps members working with them, are able to find those 11 things in each other throughout the course of the year. It doesn’t look perfect every day. Sometimes challenges show up way more than joy, but the growth that comes from embracing the challenge and adventure to find the moments of love and joy is a skill that serves both students and AmeriCorps members alike.  

Having been with City Year Greater Boston for 9 years, one of the things I’ve heard (and felt) most often is that “students make it worth it.” Service is often thought of as an act of giving, and AmeriCorps members do give their all during their year (or two!) of service. However, something I have come to see and learn is that there is much to be gained in service too.

There is meaning in the long hours when you’re able to see something finally click for a student. There is adventure on the days when your partner teacher is unexpectedly out. There is community in the team that gets hysterical and loopy at the end of a long and hard day and makes you belly laugh. There is power in seeing and learning about the inequities that exist all around us and finding ways to dismantle them. There is safety in being able to show up as your full self in service with your team. There is respect that is finally earned from the student that you didn’t stop showing up for. There is structure in the morning routine and first and final circle that brings you all together every day. There is challenge in re-learning Algebra I (and humility when a student points out you’re doing it wrong). There is opportunity to start each day fresh and make an impact in both small and big ways. There is joy in the jokes students tell that they probably shouldn’t, but you just can’t help but laugh. And there is a lot of love for the people you meet, lean on and care for in your 10 months of service. 

There is power in seeing and learning about the inequities that exist all around us and finding ways to dismantle them. 

Our society would be a much better place if we all had those 11 things and it’s a joy to see the ways they show up in our schools and on our teams every day.

Related stories

March is an extra special month here at City Year – not only do we get to celebrate AmeriCorps Member...

Read more about Celebrating Women's History Month!

Every year, City Year Greater Boston’s Civic Engagement (BCE) team leverages the power of thousands of volunteers to improve the...

Read more about Celebrating Massachusetts STEM Week

Some might say my journey to discovering City Year and my passion for working in education was an unconventional one....

Read more about The importance of human connection

My name is Rebecca Begemann, and I am a Second Year AmeriCorps member serving at Brighton High School in Boston,...

Read more about Consistency Really is Key
National Strategic Partners
National Partners