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Building The Future by Going Back

If someone were to ask me what one thing is that I love about City Year, it would be that it gives me the opportunity to be the person that I needed when I was younger, especially in the school setting. I remember when I got this position, I had spoken to my brother and told him how ironic it was that I had gone throughout college excited to be done with school, only to find myself back in the 3rd grade after graduating from Michigan State. His response was “you missed school”. I didn’t realize how true that was until I got to walk the halls of Burns Elementary-Middle School.

Within a week of school starting back up for students, I started to feel nostalgia kick in. The sounds of laughter in the halls and lockers opening and closing were just the tip of the iceberg. Whenever I focused on a student or staff member doing something in the school, a memory of my own played in my head. The girl that gradually started to talk more in class reminded me of my own journey to becoming confident in a new space. The boy putting his head down when given a confusing math problem made me think of how I used to feel defeated and discouraged. The patience of the teacher reminded me of the first time I felt heard and seen by a teacher. So many different flashbacks have occurred and reminded me that I’m in a position to inspire students to be playful, become confident, and have patience.

City Year is more than volunteer work, it’s an opportunity to help build the future using the lessons from my past and City Year’s present mission.


Written by Mi’Ele Booker, City Year AmeriCorps member | Burns Elementary-Middle School Team

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