By Aaron Griffith, AmeirCorps Member, Serving at McDonough Elementary School

Having just graduated in June 2014, Ian Umphrey CY’14 offers a fresh perspective of life one year out of City Year in this recent interview. 

What have you been up to since you graduated from City Year last June?

Since graduating from City Year last June I accepted a position to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Families in Transition in Manchester, NH. I am interested in continuing to work in the non-profit field after I’ve completed my undergraduate degree, and I knew VISTA would further prepare me to do so. This second year of service has provided valuable learning opportunities in important efforts such as volunteer engagement, event planning, resource development, and even social media marketing.

How did City Year prepare you for what you're doing now and your future endeavors? What sort of skills and lessons did you learn from your service year? 

I think City Year helped me build skills such as communication, organization, teamwork, and discipline. I also learned more about my potential as a learner and a leader, and my ability to make a difference for individuals in need. I know I will continue to use skills and knowledge I gained during my service year as I work to complete my undergraduate degree at Wheelock College and further develop my career path.

What are your favorite memories from City Year?

Some of my favorite memories from City Year include late nights with Kira, Anna, Josh, and Pawn while we prepared part of the 2014 Starry Starry Night program, feeding kids as Camp City Year after successful in-kind efforts with the Operations Team, and watching one of my focus list students receive the “most improved fourth grade reader” award at Bakersville and meeting his proud mother! 

What advice do you have for Corps Members who want to make the most of their year of service? 

I think an essential tool for any Corps Member to make the most of their service year is the genuine willingness to take on unique challenges as an individual, team member, and part of the Beloved Community we have all worked to build. I would also encourage Corps Members to utilize a “Growth Mindset” during the many personal and professional development opportunities throughout their year of service. I believe that leadership development and service can go hand in hand! 

How do you suggest that Corps Members maintain perspective during their year of service? 

Reflect on the Cathedral Building founding story, I think it helps to provide perspective when we might not always see the bigger picture of our individual work. The Cathedral Building story reminds us that building the cathedral is only possible when countless individual actions work together toward our common goal of lasting social change.

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