By Jennifer Camacho AmeriCorps member, John Muir Middle School

Susan Baranich is a school librarian and one of our biggest supporters. This is her second year at John Muir Middle School in South L.A and she has worked intimately with the City Year team since day one.

Q: How would you describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member?

A: Get ready because there’s going to be a lot of adjectives: energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent young scholars.

Q: How does City Year help build a positive school climate?

A: They have a youthful spirit and they're well-educated. Teachers can focus on the academics and City Year can focus on individual students. It's not just about teaching students subjects, but giving them the confidence and skills they need to be successful on their own. No one ever casually sits with them at the table -- that ‘table talk’ is invaluable!

Q: How has City Year impacted John Muir?

A: City Year has positively impacted the attendance of our students; they come to school because there’s someone there waiting for them. Students who wouldn’t do their work now do it. I see many students' behavior improved due to the individualized attention they receive from City Year. Because of all those support systems, I also see students' academic performance improve.

Q: How does having a City Year mentor in a student’s life make a difference?

A: It makes a tremendous difference! Many of our students have parents who care about them, but with the life challenges they have, the day-to-day attention they need for school success is impossible. City Year is able to fill that void.

Q: What is your favorite thing about City Year?

A: The whole City Year program is a gift to the school’s community, the teachers, and the students. I hope our students look forward to becoming City Year AmeriCorps members someday!

Q: What message would you like to leave for the team?

A: Don’t go! It’s like the ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ quote: “Oh, please don't go—we'll eat you up—we love you so!” I’m just so proud of you. I hope that each and every one of you understands what an incredible gift your time with City Year has been. You can only hope that the students you work with today pay it forward tomorrow.

Follow the John Muir Middle School team (@cyla_muircougars) on Instagram!

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