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Care Force Alumni Spotlight: Egypt Worthy

Karli, Eric and I were very excited and thankful to get to speak with Egypt Worthy over Microsoft Teams on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. We were able to converse about her past experiences with Team Care Force and what she is up to now as an Impact Manager for City Year Philadelphia.

Serving with City Year and Team Care Force

Avery: Where did you serve your first year, and what is your favorite memory from that year?
Egypt: I served at City Year Philadelphia in a third-grade classroom, and my favorite memory has to be field day. Field day was our last day in the school. My partner teacher decorated the City Year office, it was a dress-down day for us, the kids got to dress down too and we had on our school shirts. My third graders got to sign their school shirts, and we didn’t have interventions or anything like that, so it was a very chill day. It was a sad moment because it was the last day we would get to see our students as AmeriCorps members. But it was a great field day outside, playing music with the kids, dancing, things like that. So that is one of my top favorite memories.

Karli: What was your favorite Care Force trip and why?
Egypt: It has to be Nashville. It was the first trip that I got to go on that wasn’t in Boston, so we actually got on a plane and got to go to a different state. It was me, another one of my teammates Mackenzie, some City Year Care Force alums, Civic Engagement alums, City Year staff, and Boston alums. It was very chill and very small. By chill I mean, we started prep work around about 9:00 a.m. each day and ended about 5:00 p.m., and we were able to go out to eat. It wasn’t a situation where we had to work like more than seven-eight hours and on the last day of the event, we were able to hang out together. So,  it was a good experience since it was our first project. It was our first experience doing all the documents and preparing for out-of-state service. The food was great; the barbeque was amazing. I’m not a fan of country music, but it was cool to be out of my comfort zone. We just had a blast—definitely one of my top service days.

Avery: Do you remember what kind of service you did at the site?
Egypt: The event was at a community center. My project was painting the walls in three different rooms. There was some construction going on inside, canvas painting going on, and I believe we had some construction going on outside as well. We made picnic tables and did mural work on the pavement. It was a pretty good mix of projects. 

Egypt with her teammate Dylan at a hard skills training day, where apparently they got benched for a few too many screw ups.

From City Year AmeriCorps member to staff member

Eric: What is your current position?
Egypt: I am an Impact Manager with City Year Philadelphia at a K-eight elementary school with 11 AmeriCorps members on my team. That role is managing the partnership between our teachers, principals and with City Year. I am leading the corps members at my school, but it’s more so managing the bigger picture. Such as being in the important meetings with sponsors, preparing the corps members for what service will look like and preparing them for after City Year. We are virtual right now; that has been a huge challenge, but we are making the best of it. 

Avery: Is this your first year as an Impact Manager?
Egypt: Yes, I started in February, and then COVID happened three weeks after.

Avery: What skills did you develop while working with Care Force that you feel are relevant to your role as an Impact Manager now?
Egypt: I think flexibility was one of the biggest things. Just try to be flexible as much as possible, and be aware that changes may occur all the time, especially on service days. You may have a plan set, and then something goes totally wrong out of nowhere. So just being flexible and be in the mindset that it’s okay that something may change, and you just need to have a plan B and C in case that happens. Such as, maybe the driver for the container came early, and again you have to have a plan. That definitely prepared me. It’s just very much working in a fast-paced environment. Care Force was able to prepare me for situations that you had to think on the spot. It prepares you to know what may come next. 

Karli: What piece of advice do you have for future Care Force members?
Egypt: The biggest advice I would give is be open to being squishy. Be open to doing things that are way out of your comfort zone. For me, I had no background in construction or painting whatsoever, so construction was something that I really tried to stay away from when it came to projects. It’s just schematics and all that stuff are tough. I mean I’d cut the wood, but I didn’t want to measure the wood. Just being open to being squishy, being open to try things that are out of your comfort zone and learning different skills. That would be my top one, just to be open minded; you might mess up, but you will grow from it, and it will make you a stronger AmeriCorps member and a stronger individual. 

Egypt with the rest of her team during a team building day at the Boston Harbor Islands.

Finding fulfillment at City Year

Eric: What made you stick with City Year through multiple City Years and come back on as an Impact Manager?
Egypt: I took a little bit of time off after Care Force. I had two different positions after moving back to Philadelphia. While they were great, and they definitely prepared me for my graduate school program that I’ll be starting later, it just really didn’t fulfill me in the way City Year did. I love City Year culture; I love the mission. I love being in the school and working with students. I also really enjoy being in the background and seeing the corps members come in at the beginning of the year and growing and going off to other things. Whether they come back or do something different, helping to develop those leadership skills is something that I really wanted to do and is something I really didn’t get to do in my previous jobs. Those are my top things as to why I wanted to come back.

Avery: Is that similar to why you wanted to do Care Force after your first corps year?
Egypt: I think most first-year corps members don’t know what they want to do; 11 months for some people can be very short, and I was just one of those people that didn’t have a plan and didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then this (Care Force) was brought to my attention, and I had done something similar before City Year, so I thought, “This is intriguing; this is different.” I get to move to a new state, which was kind of scary to me. But again, I love City Year, and I am stepping out of my comfort zone because I don’t know anything about painting or construction, and I’ve never moved to another state before for anything. I just love City Year, and I am open to anything that is getting to serve students and to get that different experience.

Lessons learned from service and staying engaged

Avery: Did you have any major learning moments in Care Force?
Egypt: The first one is always ask questions. Even if you feel like you got it, or you may feel uncomfortable asking questions because you may feel like you’re going to get scolded for not knowing the answer. That’s okay cause we are Team Care Force. We are not experts; we are learning all of this as we go. So always ask questions.
 
“Nothing is wrong with being overly prepared; that is something that I learned. Someone may tell you that you don’t need that many items, but I’m going to take an extra two just in case to make it easier for myself later.

“When you’re tarping a school hallway, it’s better to roll out the whole roll rather than cut it up piece by piece.”

Egypt and her team enjoying a beach in Rhode Island following an event.

Karli: In what ways have you engaged with Care Force or City Year as an alum?
Egypt: I came back to help out with Martin Luther King Day; I wasn’t able to do it when I was in Care Force because of our schedule. I believe I was able to do it two times as an alumni, and I did a Q&A with last year’s team when COVID-19 had just started. Then I went to their virtual graduation. Also, once you graduate you can always support Team Care Force trips as an alumni (Reserve) if it’s needed. I went on a service trip to Canada. Since AmeriCorps members aren’t allowed to travel out of the country for service, it was a staff- and alumni-only trip. Jake, one of my teammates, also attended along with some folks from HQ and another Team Care Force alum. The project was very chill, but the service day was very long. We had to order pizza for dinner, but I was glad we were able to explore a little the first couple of days. We did an escape room as a team, which was cool and just enjoyed being in Canada. It was my first time leaving the U.S., so I was a kid in a candy store. So I try my best to stay up with things.

Egypt with the Boston-based Care Force staff and the rest of her team at their graduation ceremony.

Adapting to virtual service

Eric: How has your role as an Impact Manager been altered during COVID-19?
Egypt: So as of right now, we are all virtual. We are supposed to go hybrid after November 17, but we’ll see. In person, I would be at the office for staff meetings and at the school with the team, but obviously it’s a lot more difficult to be in contact with people now, so there’s a lot of following up. As far as virtual, I’m still first circling with my team. I’m still final circling with my team. We still have team meetings; we try to add those City Year culture components. We still have a deliverable board; it’s an excel sheet, but it’s still there. Usually you would be able to actually see these things, rather than getting on your laptop all the time. Just instead of being in person, it’s virtual. Again, there are challenges, but we’re making the best of it, my team is great. You know they don’t know what service looks like such as you and I do, but that’s sort of the benefit. We are also trying to keep them engaged and as personal as possible. With students, there is a challenge with them not logging on or not knowing how to log on, but in person you would just see them in class, and you are able to relationship build with them as well as with the teachers. But again, we are trying our best. It’s only been three, maybe four, weeks since we have been virtual, and we have gotten a lot of good feedback from the school, principal and teachers. I can’t hype up my team enough; they have been doing an amazing job. 

Avery: Are there any skills you’ve developed from working at home that you might not have honed in on if you were working in person?
Egypt: I don’t want to call it a skill, but being home has given me the chance to get to know my team better. Not to say that if we were in person, we wouldn’t get to know each other, but being in person is more “I see you every day,” but now we are virtual so I feel the need to talk to you all the time and get to know as much as possible about them because I only get to see them three days out of the week. Whereas if we were in person, I would get to see them all the time and not make use of our time together in a sense. Now since we are virtual, we get to sit down and really process things a lot slower, whereas in person is very much on the go, back and forth, back and forth. One moment you are at the office, then back at the school, back to the office, back to the school. Whereas now I have a little more time to process and organize my brain a little bit. I wouldn’t call it a skill, but some things I have become more aware of.

Karli: What are some activities you’ve started during the pandemic?
Egypt: I’ve been working out way more than usual, and I haven’t been doing it as much right now, but I know when COVID-19 first started, I was able to save a lot more money. Really just saving and being able to do things that I wouldn’t usually be able to since I’m usually at work. So because I am at home, I can go to the gym early in the morning and come straight home rather than going to the gym, come home, get dressed and leave right back out. I have had more energy than I would have had if I were in person. I am also just closer to those errands like the gym and the grocery store. If I was at work, I would have to travel 45 minutes to an hour to get to those places. It really has been working out, I have the time, so I think why not.

This interview took place on September 22, 2020.

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