From a current AmeriCorps member to a future one
City Year is an AmeriCorps program that helps students in systemically under-resourced schools reach their highest potential. There are many things I would like to tell incoming AmeriCorps members. First, I would tell them that this is a long and hard journey, but one that is definitely worth it. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, our days are long, we’re at school before most teachers arrive, and we are stay at school until after most have gone home. We have intense training before we meet our precious students, and this training continues throughout the school year. The training is really well thought out, and eventually it all makes sense. Another thing I would like to tell them is to utilize all the networking opportunities available. City Year is especially skills at bringing people together from all different walks of life, not just to serve in the corps, but to support and mentor the corps as well. Most of our partner schools have many community partners that collaborate with City Year to better support students, so I would say definitely utilize the community partners available at our schools. City Year primarily works with students in systemically under-resourced schools that are not performing well in the traditional sense, but never let the challenges deter you from applying or continuing in the program. One thing that I love about our partner schools is that no matter what these children go through, they come to school so happy. They don’t let their circumstances define who they are. Most kids come to school actually wanting to learn, but sometimes you have to make learning fun, and some encouragement will go a long way when it comes to children. Another thing I would tell them is to enjoy the ride. This is a very unique opportunity, and I would encourage all future members to fully utilize the memories. You’re going to meet new people from different walks of life, and all of them are around your age. You’re going to have very unique and great relationships with some members at your partner school. And you’re definitely going to have the most enjoyable memories with your students. Try and cherish every moment with your students, because while you’re in service it may seem like it’s long, but it’s a very short year. Lastly, I will say that it’s OK to take some personal time. Through all the hard work, you deserve some personal time. It is important to protect your mental health, in whatever city you choose to serve, and to find out some fun and free things to do. Overall you will definitely grow as a person by joining City Year, and I highly recommend you utilize all the opportunities that are available to you through the program.
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