be_ixf;ym_202309 d_28; ct_50

Looking back on my City Year

My time with City Year Jacksonville has been a life-changing experience filled with new ideas and sparks of new personalities from corps members, administrators, staff and of course the students we serve each and every day. When I left Tallahassee, Florida, in mid-July, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The only thing I knew about City Year was what was on the surface and that corps members worked with many students in systemically under-resourced primary and secondary schools. What I did not realize is that City Year is so much more.

In my first week of Basic Training Academy, City Year introduced me to a vast amount of first- and second-year AmeriCorps members who I would have the pleasure of serving alongside of. This week was filled with a lot of information and build up anticipation because everyone couldn’t wait to find out what school they would be assigned to and who all will be on the team. A sense of joy filled my heart when they announced that I would be serving at my alma mater: William M. Raines High School. It was at that moment I got to meet five remarkable people that I would be working alongside this year of service, with an addition of six other unique personalities serving at our partner school, Ribault High School.

The first few months were a wrecking ball because as a first-year corps member you have to learn to adjust to the City Year life and the structure of the school’s administration and culture. At the same time, you try to balance and maintain your social life with friends and family. Times can truly get stressful, but you always have to refer back to the one thing every team leader and second year will tell you: No matter what you do, make sure you get some self-care.

Fast forward a few months later, my team, partner teacher and students really are what make being back home special. Although the students have their days when they drive me crazy, there are always those students in each period that give me my daily dosage of laughs and smiles. I have grown to appreciate my team because they always make each day worth it. Whether it’s playing a variety of games and try to get another tally on the board, working with the students during after school tutoring and joking around to pass the time.

When you join City Year, they try to tell you how challenging the work may be, but no one ever really knows what to expect. There are good days, there are bad days and there are really bad days, but all it takes is at least one inspiring student and my team to make every day into a great one. One thing that City Year doesn’t tell you is the amazing stories you will create and amazing people you will meet. Humbly put, my students and my team are the joy of my life here in Jacksonville. This year has sent me on a trajectory of serving in education, and I will continue to pursue my passion by completing my master’s in education management after City Year.

Related stories

Destiny Harden, City Year Jacksonville AmeriCorps member, shares how she helped one of her fourth-grade students make significant progress in...

Read more about Academic gains during COVID-19

Explore seven cities where we have a need for extraordinary young people to serve and mentor students.

Read more about Seven cities where you can make a difference to students

“I know what it felt like to get left behind,” says Colby, a Service Leader serving his second year with...

Read more about From City Year student to AmeriCorps member

City Year Jacksonville alum Chelsea Sanders is now a teacher at the same school she served in. Read how she...

Read more about Back to school with positivity, change and solutions
National Strategic Partners
National Partners