Why I Decided to Come Back – Twice
From before I walked into Registration Day at City Year Milwaukee last summer, I knew that I wanted to serve again. During Basic Training Academy (BTA), I told my Team Leader and Impact Manager that I wanted to return as a Team Leader the next year, or even an Impact Manager. I immediately started taking as many opportunities as I could to put myself out there, get more leadership experience, and learn more about City Year in general and City Year Milwaukee specifically. How was I so sure that I wanted to come back even before service had started? I had already “come back” once before!
In the 2018-2019 school year, I started service with City Year in my hometown of Orlando, Florida. Service was very difficult for me for various reasons. My fiancée and I were both struggling with our health – by the end of September, my fiancée’s health struggles became so intense that they needed to move back home to Milwaukee so that they could have access to more healthcare providers. My decision may have looked easy to those on the outside of the situation, but it was actually an internal struggle. I did, however, very quickly make the difficult decision to end my service year early, in October, and move to Milwaukee with my fiancée.
When we arrived in Milwaukee, I immediately began searching for a job. I considered applying to City Year Milwaukee as a mid-year start, but ultimately it wasn’t possible for me to meet that deadline. I applied for City Year Milwaukee as quickly as possible for the 2019-2020 school year, and when I received my offer to serve, I accepted it the same day.
City Year is an amazing opportunity and experience. I am deeply passionate about National Service. I believe that National Service is one of the best, if not the best, ways to make a positive change in my community. City Year gives us the opportunity to directly serve students along with district and other organizational partners to give our students the best opportunity for success. It is amazing to be a part of an organization where everybody involved cares so much for our students and their families. City Year is very challenging, but it is ultimately a positive challenge. There are so many opportunities for personal and professional growth.
In service with City Year, I get to spend every day in service with students and my community. I get to be a part of something much bigger than myself. I get to stand by my students through good and bad, through progress and setbacks, through rewards for positive behavior and reprimands. I get to be a consistent force for good for my students. I get to show up every day and partner with a teacher who has more passion for her students’ learning and success than I’ve ever seen before. I have learned so much this service year and I have grown a lot. I feel like I have become more confident. I’ve become a better leader and I’ve made connections and friendships that I hope will last forever.
I decided to come back to City Year, both the first time and this time, because I don’t think my work is done.
I believe that I still have more to learn and I still have more to give. I want to learn how to lead corps members toward our common goal of helping bring our students the success they and their families deserve and want to see in their lives. I decided to come back because I believe that City Year is an amazing organization with commendable goals and great vision, and it is an organization that I am so proud to be able to serve with. I would encourage everybody to serve at least one year with City Year, or some other service program, if they’re able – it is an amazing opportunity to serve our communities and grow together, and to be the positive change we want to see in our communities.
Andrew Colegrove proudly serves on the Carver Team at City Year Milwaukee and is coming back next year as a Team Leader. Andrew is from the Orlando area in Florida and attended the University of Central Florida.
First Year AmeriCorps member, Ava Masias, shares more about supporting Social Emotional Learning in the virtual space this service year.Read more about Building a Space of Belonging Virtually