Care Force Alumni Spotlight: Dan Nemiroff
Ben Brittany, and Hugh were thankful to be able to converse with Dan Nemiroff and discuss his experience serving with City Year. We also got to talk to him about what he is up to now and how he used his Care Force experience to further his career.
Ben: What is your favorite memory from your first AmeriCorps year?
Dan: Right after I graduated college from UC Davis, I was looking for different opportunities, I applied to City Year and got assigned to Miami. I served as a Senior Corps Member leading Young Heroes in Miami. Young Heroes was a service-learning program for middle school students that took place on Saturdays. It was just a great experience. The service days I would do with the Young Heroes in Miami were very memorable. Miami is so diverse and colorful and such a fun city, so it was a great way for me as an outsider to get to know the city a lot better. We traveled around and took public transit and it was a good time.
Brittany: What was your favorite Care Force trip and why?
Dan: It is definitely hard to choose one. One that stands out for me, I think it was our first trip. It was a trip to Chicago, southside Chicago I believe. It is memorable because there were some first-time jitters; the team was feeling each other out. The whole team was on the event, and it was kind of like a training trip. It opened my eyes to what this experience was going to be like and getting to know the people we’d be working with. We were working with a great community. Chris Farzner will remember this, but we also got to build a baseball field, which for me was a huge highlight and it was kind of a mess. We kind of just made it up as we went along which was awesome. We ended up going back a couple months later to re-work on it because we were in Chicago again. It was very memorable, and it just started a great year for our team.
Ben: What is your current position and what do you do?
Dan: Right now, I am the counselor for the senior class at Mission High School in San Francisco. So, I am a school counselor and we focus on three main domains in school counseling which are: academics, social and emotional, and college and career. So, as you can imagine, we have about 1,200 students at Mission High School, and in my grade, there are 250 or 300 seniors that I am the counselor for. So, it is really just being there to support them and to challenge them, to care for them, to help them make a plan, to support them through applying to college or looking for jobs or to help them through difficult times with their friends or with their family. It is a busy and dynamic place to work but working with the students and seeing them succeed and being with them has been a great experience. I have actually been with my students for four years, so I know them really well, and I am preparing them to graduate in a couple months. It is actually pretty crazy.
Hugh: Dan, are you still coaching baseball too?
I was coaching baseball the last three years, and this year I am coaching softball; I am the head coach. So, the last two years the softball team has struggled with finding consistent coaching. They had a coach and then he had to leave and then they had a teacher fill in and it was just overwhelming. So, they were basically running their own practices last year. My dad lives in the neighborhood too, and he’s retired, so he is now my official assistant coach. He’s out here every day with the girls which is super fun.
Brittany: What skills did you develop with TCF that you think are most relevant to your current work?
Dan: Honestly, so many. Just the level of professionalism and commitment to the work is what stands out the most. Also, leading meetings and double-checking minor details and focusing on really small things really make a difference in my work as a counselor. For sure the biggest thing that stands out is just valuing diversity and valuing working on a team. That is something that I try to bring to my work every single day and that I try to relay to my students. Just the dynamics of working on a team is something that will always stand out to me as being valuable from my Care Force experience.
Ben: What piece of advice do you have for future TCF members or potential City Year AmeriCorps members?
Dan: Just remembering to enjoy the experience and to try and keep an open mind. Never be too close-minded on what an experience is going to be. Just try to be flexible and be prepared and have a plan, and when the time comes, abandon the plan and make a new one.
Brittany:. What was a big learning “a-ha” moment that you had while serving on team Care Force?
Dan: It is so hard to break a big long experience into a moment. Honestly, a big a-ha moment for me was at the end when I became really emotional, upset and sad to leave Boston. I had a really great opportunity to pursue in San Francisco, and I had such a great experience. At the same time, I was excited for it to be done and for the next chapter, but it didn’t occur to me how transformative and positive of an experience I had until I was leaving, and I had to say goodbye to my teammates and the staff in Boston. It was tough because they became my family.
Hugh: What did you do after you graduated from Care Force and before you became a counselor?
Dan: It all kind of happened because of Care Force, but I ended up working for a non-profit called KABOOM!, which is a non-profit that brings playgrounds to communities all over the world. The way that it played out was there was a woman who worked there named Katie Morgan (a Care Force alum) who said she had a project in New Hampshire, I think. But anyway, she recruited Team Care Force to send a couple of members to help prep. There are a lot of parallels between Care Force and KABOOM!. It was just a natural and no-brainer progression for me. I was really enjoying the work with Care Force. I was enjoying traveling and working with communities. I did over two years working with KABOOM!. Working with Care Force and KABOOM!, I loved working in schools and thinking about how I could continue my career in a school is what led me to counseling.
Thank you Dan we truly appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your experience with us. Thank you for joining us!
Note: This original conversation took place on 3/4/2020.
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