The success of the young people we serve is our preeminent goal, best achieved by working in partnership with others who are dedicated to the same cause.

The students we serve are our highest priority, and supporting their success is our number one goal. AmeriCorps Co-Team Leaders Melanie Liu and Maria "Dolo" Beltran strive to model this City Year value for the team they will be leading at John Liechty Middle School (JLMS) in Pico-Union / Westlake. Melanie is a City Year L.A. and University of Calif., Riverside alum. Dolo is a City Year Milwaukee and University of Calif., Irvine alum. Whereas JLMS has become a second home for Melanie who returns to the same school for a second year, Dolo is new to service in L.A. and the partnership. Together, they will lead a team through one of the most difficult, transformative, and rewarding experiences. See how this collaborative team's year is getting a strong start.

Melanie: Some City Year Team Leaders are fortunate enough to get partnered with another Team Leader, or “Co”, that serves alongside them in the same leadership capacity. Having a Co is beneficial because you have someone that can closely support you in your in-class service, and your students in the same homework assignments. When I found out that I would have a Co-Team Leader this new service year, I was so excited (and nervous to meet them)! But when I first met Maria or “Dolo” over the summer, we clicked right away and we’ve been working closely to prepare for our team’s arrival ever since. She motivates me, supports me, and makes me find more joy in service. In addition to her genuine personality, I’m drawn to working with Dolo because of the shared reasons we have for returning to serve another year.

Dolo: Before coming to CYLA, I didn’t know that is was possible to have a “Co”, and I never imagined I would get one, either. After learning that Melanie and I would be working together, and coming from a different site, I felt enthusiastic and anxious because I wanted to be good for her and for the team. A few weeks have now passed and I am extremely blessed to have Melanie as my “Co”. She is such a thoughtful and calm individual who helps balance my ideas and reminds me that I am the right person for this job. I’m extremely excited to be working closely with her, especially because we share very similar reasons of why we came back to serve another year.

Melanie & Dolo: Although we know it is a fact that a student’s zip code in this country dictates their quality of education, we refuse to accept that as a status quo. Students are easily overlooked when they aren’t meeting certain expectations. But while working with our students last year, we know that a little bit of change or new knowledge for our students can make a great difference in their educational experience.

Melanie: At the end of my first service year, I felt that I was part of a greater community at my school. I want to continue work with this community to make things thrive for our students and their families.

Dolo: I am an aunt of 10 nieces and nephews, and I wish that they each had a City Year in their classroom. I see a lot of them in our students, and I want to give our students the support that I would for my family.

Melanie & Dolo: As first generation college students, greatness was expected from a young age, but there is no clear road for us. Through this challenge, we both found our passion in helping guide kids through the difficult paths of education.

Melanie: I serve because I understand what it is like to struggle in school. And I want to guide students to thrive even in their challenges, and to remind them that they are the writers of their lives, and the struggles are just part of the story.

Dolo: I serve because I have the privilege and responsibility to do so. Because by staying in my community to give back, I get to be there for students of color the same way someone was there for me when I immigrated to this country and because I believe representation matters.


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