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Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, I witnessed a lot in my community: teen pregnancy, homelessness, drug addiction. It scared me to think that this might be my future as well. Thankfully I had role models that showed me another path.  


These role models became my personal cheerleaders and remain two of the strongest women I know. They are my two older sisters. Throughout my high school years, they served with City Year and helped me realize that I could take a different path, one grounded in service to a cause greater than self.   


In college, I decided to work in education and asked my sisters about City Year. They took me on service days, told me about their journey working with students, the long hours, the rollercoaster of emotions, but most importantly, the gratification that comes with knowing how significant our impact can be on students and communities. 

This year I am excited to proudly continue the tradition my sisters started…to be the compassionate, dependable, and  nurturing mentor my students need to realize their own path in life.” 


Jessica Lazaro is a proud City Year AmeriCorps member serving at Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy in her neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles.


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