Hope - the idea having an optimistic mindset centered on the expectation of positive outcomes in one’s life - is something that I believe most of my fellow AmeriCorps members have both struggled with and embodied as a result of serving with City Year these past few months. We began our journey both optimistic and hopeful that we could make a change, but that optimism can become obstructed.
It can be saddening to help someone see the potential they possess, which they weren’t aware of either because they didn’t have an opportunity to display it, or because no one has ever told them just how much they are really worth. Despite these obstacles, it is incredibly rewarding and inspiring to see those same students show up day-in and day-out ready to put forth their best effort, whatever that might look like on that particular day.
Through my team’s work, we’re able to show the students that the only difference between them and anyone else is longitude and latitude. That through education they can change their reality and assure that those who come after them won’t have to face the same struggles that they did. To motivate them to do whatever it is that they want to do and help them realize that anything is possible.
In order to do this we must acknowledge when our students are showing up to school on time, when they are making strides on subject matter that once seemed foreign to them and when they didn’t act out when you thought that they for sure would.
It is important to celebrate the small wins, the tiny triumphs and the everyday victories because they are ultimately what will help us reach our goals Which in our case is helping students to believe in themselves, and to reciprocate that Hope into their communities.