Below is an excerpt from a recent interview with Josie Medrano, Coordinator at 109th Street Elementary School. Josie's role at 109th Street is to support the principal in overseeing testing, curriculum planning, behavior systems, and other school-wide initiatives.
Q. How would you describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member?
A. The typical City Year AmeriCorps Member is compassionate and demonstrates altruism. Simply put, they have big hearts. The eye-opener for me was attending City Year's Opening Day in the fall.
The day's message of giving back is something important for our students to see play out. The impact of others willing to give up their time and volunteer to help them is powerful. It's especially rewarding when they realize that they, too, can choose to give back to their community.
Q. In your own words, why is City Year's work important?
A. It's hard to imagine how much our school needs unless you are here. The City Year corps members help at-risk students both during the day and after school. City Year brings something to 109th Street Elementary that I haven't witnessed at any other school. I believe that the experience is mutually beneficial as corps members will move on see to the world differently and understand the needs of our communities. It may even change their views on life, education, politics, and beyond.
Q. What is your favorite piece of City Year culture & why?
A. My favorite part of City Year culture is Morning Greeting! The City Year team sets a positive tone from the beginning of the day. Who wouldn't want to walk into a school where the adults are smiling and excited to see you? City Year AmeriCorps members at 109th Street Elementary are really enthusiastic and their smiles are contagious.
Q. What do you predict will be the lasting legacy for the 2014-15 City Year corps serving at 109th Street Elementary?
A. Our "Shining Star" corps will leave behind a legacy full of spirit and love for learning. They demonstrate both qualities to students on a daily basis. Students are surrounded by college graduates, and that inspires them to continue their learning and reach for higher levels of education. City Year members are positive mentors that inspire students to dream big and work hard.