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Making the most of your year of service in Little Rock

AmeriCorps member walking and laughing with a high school student

Serving in Little Rock

Dedicating a year of service to City Year and the students of Little Rock can feel inspiring—and maybe a bit daunting. Your time in these schools with these students will leave an indelible mark on them and on yourself. That year (or two!) that you give as an AmeriCorps member at City Year will challenge you to grow, develop and expand your horizon.

There’s something special about serving in Little Rock itself. You’ll have access to history and culture, a vibrant food scene, and multiple, free outdoor activities that come with the territory under the warm Arkansas sun.

At the heart of your service will be the students you connect with and support day in and day out, making a difference in their lives and supporting their path to success.

As the largest school district in the state, Little Rock School District (LRSD) enrolls more than 25,000 talented students. But not all of them graduate–about 20 percent of students don’t receive their high school diploma. Research shows that young people who don’t complete high school face diminished economic, social and health outcomes, and are three times more likely to be unemployed. The consequences of dropping out of high school are profound, both for students and for their communities.

City Year Little Rock deploys 54 AmeriCorps members to six public schools, where they track and measure their impact on students and the whole school, seeking to provide students with the academic and social-emotional supports they need to flourish. As a full-time mentor, tutor and role model, your service in these schools makes a difference in the lives of the kids you serve.

To make your year a success, read these tips from corps members serving at City Year Little Rock and across our network of 29 sites.

Get the most out of your new home

Little Rock is a vibrant, small southern city. From the Arkansas Art Center to the Clinton Presidential Library, from the Arkansas River Trail to Murray Park, there’s something for everyone. There are so many places to explore, and many of their activities and annual festivals are free!

City Year Little Rock AmeriCorps member Marlie Ball shared that, despite being from Arkansas, she discovered so many new things in Little Rock.

“It is exciting to experience a different setting.” Marlie said. “Little Rock has so much to offer, such as outdoor events or live music. The culture and diversity in Little Rock is also refreshing compared to the small town I am from.”

At the end of the day, the people you surround yourself with can make all the difference. “My favorite thing about being a part of CYLR has been my team members,” says Marlie. “It’s incredible how a group of strangers can get along so well. I appreciate each one of them for their passion and dedication to ensure our students succeed.”

City Year Little Rock office

Be open to something new

We can tell you what a City Year AmeriCorps member does–but until you walk a mile in your City Year red jacket, you can’t truly know what it’s like to serve the students of a community. Being open to change and willing to explore something new are key.

“I don’t think any words can truly prepare you for a year with City Year,” says City Year Little Rock AmeriCorps member Jennifer Marshall. “You have to go in with an open mind and heart and be ready for a year that will change your life for the better.”

Though you will work in a school’s classroom, City Year does not just prepare you to be a teacher, but to develop skills and professional experiences to support a variety of careers. “City Year opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available in the educational realm,” said Jennifer. “Previously I thought the only way I could reach children was by becoming a teacher. City Year showed me that I don’t have to be a teacher to positively affect the lives of students.”

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