By Emily Mudd, City Year Milwaukee Senior AmeriCorps Member, Team Leader Serving at Rogers Street Academy

I moved to Milwaukee a year ago never having even been to the Midwest. I was immediately captivated by the city's mix of old and new and spent as much time as I could exploring and seeing all that I could. However, I have come to realize that behind all the things this city has to offer, this city is also suffering. 

This city is known to be one of the most segregated cities in the country, if you drive around the city this quickly becomes apparent, and this is especially a reality in the schools. Over the last couple of weeks our city has come to the forefront of news as communities band together to make the changes they have been seeking for decades. I have been lucky to be surrounded by my City Year community during this time; offering me a safe space to process as well as self reflect. I am eternally thankful for this. 

I constantly think about the students we serve. There are an abundance of moving pieces to the puzzle to facilitate systematic change. I am lucky to be a apart of an organization that is empowering the youth of this city to use their education to create change within their own communities. By working towards equality in our education systems we are strengthening a piece of the puzzle.  

Over the month of August, we focused on the value, Service to a Cause Greater than Self. When I think about this work, I think about how difficult this job is. The days are long and jammed pack with different responsibilities and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.  But in these moments I think of the students that face daily challenges and yet they show up everyday willingly to start over; to give a high five, to encourage their peers to participate in class, to teach me the new dance move so that I can be that much cooler, and most importantly the "Ms.Mudd, I got this". A couple years from now the students we serve might not remember our names but they will remember that a City Year told them that they could. This is the true power of Service to a Cause Greater than Self. 

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