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Why I Serve – A Family Legacy

 

My grandmother in Nepal, a matriarch in her own right, was a teacher – and always told us that with education comes success.  

I consider my family’s prioritization of education in my life a privilege. When I applied to City Year last year, I noticed a pattern that many of my past experiences revolved around mentoring and teaching, both locally and back home in Nepal. Honoring my grandmother’s words and following my own growing interest in education is what led me to apply to become a City Year Greater Boston AmeriCorps Member. The year of service that followed only amplified and reaffirmed those sentiments for me. Let me tell you more about my experience and the impact I saw on students along the way.  

From my very first week serving as an AmeriCorps Member at Burke High School, students asked me “Why are City Years only here for one year?” While we spoke about how giving a year of service is part of the organization’s name, halfway through my first year, I found myself eager to serve for another.  

I had already learned and grown so much from City Year Greater Boston, connecting with not only my fellow AmeriCorps Members, teammates, partner teachers, and students, but also with parts of myself that I am still exploring. I went to work excited to be part of a community of people committed to empowering students and bridging opportunity gaps. Despite long hours and tough days, I appreciated every moment I was able to build relationships with students and teachers, collaborate with my teammates, and engage in learning alongside my students.  

“I had already learned and grown so much from City Year Greater Boston, connecting with not only my fellow AmeriCorps Members, teammates, partner teachers, and students, but also with parts of myself that I am still exploring. I went to work excited to be part of a community of people committed to empowering students and bridging opportunity gaps.”

By the end of last year, it was no surprise that I had so much to say while writing all of my students thank you notes. On the day I handed out my thank you notes, one particular student, with whom I spent most mornings before the first bell and most afternoons during extended day programming, was not there. I left the note on his desk the next morning, our last day at the Burke, which happened to be a state science testing day. That day, he came into our City Year team room at lunch to tell me, with watery eyes, that the moment he saw my note, he suddenly “got all the power to finish the test; it was all I needed.” 

Having these experiences and such a “Starfish, or student impact, story during my first service year showed me the value of City Year’s work. I wanted to keep being in an environment that challenges and motivates me to become a better student advocate. City Year’s vision of creating a more equitable future is a mission I want to actively be involved in. 

So here I am, returning as a Team Leader this year, back at Burke High School. We are already off to a great start to the year!

This year, I dedicate my Red Jacket and serve in honor of my grandma’s legacy; for students, for teachers, and for all the connections I made that I hope to continue building on.  Like my grandma said, “with education comes success.” City Year allows me to be a part of and support student success and excellence, every day.  

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