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5 things you should know before applying

City Year AmeriCorps member with students in school

Applying to serve with City Year

Are you considering applying to City Year? We think you should know a few things before clicking submit!

Make sure you’re eligible and ready to commit

First things, first! Make sure you are eligible, empathetic and committed to service. To be eligible to serve, you must be between 18-25, a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and have completed high school or a GED. Additionally, you cannot have served more than three terms in an AmeriCorps state or national program, and you must agree to and pass a criminal background check.

Your City Year service will be challenging yet rewarding. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, you’ll be receiving training and serving students and schools full-time for 11 months. On average, you’ll serve all day Monday through Friday with occasional late nights and weekends. So, there will be long days! It will be important to first engage in a little self-care on those days but remind yourself why you initially chose to serve. Doing this will help you stay committed to the work throughout the year.

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Learn more about support and self-care through the challenges of service.

Surveys, feedback and focus groups on what makes a City Year AmeriCorps member successful has taught us that the corps members who get and give the most out of serving students and schools share three characteristics:

  • They are deeply empathetic
  • They are able to build strong relationships
  • They bring a growth mindset—a belief that abilities are not fixed but rather can be developed through dedication and hard work

If this sounds like you, City Year could be a fantastic place for you to both build your own skill set and serve others.

Equity informs our work

As an organization, we’re dedicated to uniting, preparing and supporting teams of diverse young people who want to make a positive impact on their world. This impact includes expanding access to educational opportunities in communities across the nation so that more students receive the resources, relationships and supports they need to succeed.

We partner with more than 300 public schools across 29 U.S. cities, collaborating with teachers to provide classroom support, one-one-one tutoring and small group instruction; run after school programs; encourage students to come to school; and foster engaging learning environments where everyone in the school community feels safe, welcome and valued.

This work is rooted in our commitment to diversity, belonging, inclusion and equity (DBIE). We believe that there is no educational equity without social justice and that when students rise, we all rise.

As City Year continues to learn and grow, we strive to become a more equitable and just anti-racist organization. Our DBIE focus is helping us—staff and corps alike—to better address the systemic inequities inherent in our nation’s education system that disproportionately impact diverse students such as Black, Latinx, low-income, English Language Learners, students with learning differences and other students of color.

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Read more about City Year’s commitment to diversity, belonging, inclusion and equity from two strategists working in the new Office of Equity.

Moving for service can be a challenge. We help where we can.

Our Service Year Advisor team is committed to providing support and resources to help you find housing for your service year. Once you accept our offer to serve, we immediately connect you to your site’s Facebook group and with other incoming AmeriCorps members at your site. To further support your search, we will provide you with housing resources containing resources and connect you with local City Year alumni.

City Year acknowledges that many AmeriCorps members move long distances to their communities of service. These moves can be logistically challenging and financially straining. With that, City Year offers a one-time relocation allowance of $500 (pre-taxed) to any confirmed AmeriCorps member moving 50 or more miles.

When finding a place to live, we suggest you live either in or close to the community where you will be serving. Most AmeriCorps members will not be able to secure housing more than a month before their service begins. This is something all incoming AmeriCorps members should consider if planning to relocate for service.

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Need more housing information? Here’s some advice from a millennial housing expert.

AmeriCorps members receive benefits and support

City Year AmeriCorps members receive a modest, bi-weekly living stipend. When determining stipend amounts, City Year considers the cost of living in each of our 29 sites. So, stipend amounts will look different depending on where you chose to serve.  As an AmeriCorps member, you’ll have access to health insurance, student loan forbearance for eligible loans, a childcare allowance, and in some sites, public transportation coverage.

Additionally, we know that service is not easy. Working in support of students, teachers and the community is rewarding but demanding work. We also recognize that AmeriCorps members are trying to manage life outside of service as well. While we encourage our AmeriCorps members to engage in self-care practices in their personal time, we also strive to make those opportunities for self-care readily available. For example, in May 2020, City Year teamed up with Talk Space—an online therapy platform that makes it convenient and straightforward to connect with a licensed therapist via video, text or phone—to provide AmeriCorps members with three free months of services.

Learn more about ways we’re striving to support corps mental health and well-being:

Learn more

Professional development, education award and exclusive scholarships

During your service year, you will have access to various professional development and leadership opportunities to help launch your career in any field or further your education. AmeriCorps members receive leadership training, resume and cover letter writing workshops; attend networking events with alumni and partners; and, depending on the site, have access to a mentoring program with local corporate and nonprofit partners.

At the end of your service, you will receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, worth $6,195 in 2020. You can use the award for tuition costs or pay back existing student loans. Additionally, as an alum, you will become eligible for exclusive scholarships, application fee waivers, and deferral opportunities to over 100 leading undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities.

Are you ready to apply?

This post has been updated from an earlier version.

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