written by Theresa Schneider, Service Leader at Parker-Varney Elementary School
While serving with City Year, it can be hard to think about things outside of the day-to-day routine. Part of City Year’s mission is to not only support the in-school service of our corps members, but to also help these members develop in to strong leaders for civic change. As part of this effort, City Year New Hampshire hosts an event called 18-Minute Networking each year for corps members to engage with alumni who work in a wide range of occupations and fields. Current members of the CYNH corps engage with alumni in three, 18-minute sessions, during which alumni provide a glimpse of their past, having completed a year or more of City Year’s ups and downs. Each alumnus can provide perspective and answer questions on what can follow a corps member's service year, and how to take all that we will gain from City Year and find the path that is best for us, following our passions as we move forward.
Throughout the event I got to connect with three different alumni who all gave me insight into how to choose which next steps are the right ones for me by sharing how they came to be where they are now. Hearing that everything can work out from people who were in the same place I am now, and once had no idea what they were doing next, is soul-filling. Anna Caron, a current 5th grade teacher, shared how the 18-Minute Networking event she attended as a corps member was a defining point that made her realize how to make her dreams of being a teacher a reality. She spoke to the importance of getting to know ourselves and exploring all the options to find one that fits us well. She saw the magic of education and knew that was the path she was supposed to pursue.
Another alumnus, Jess Lambert, was exactly the person I needed to talk to when thinking about my next steps. After her time with City Year, she spent 10 months traveling and working, which is what I am currently hoping to do. Hearing how fulfilling this time was for her—and how, although it was hard, she knew it was the best choice for her—was inspiring. It was amazing to hear that all my feelings of anxiety and uncertainty were what she felt as well. Despite all those things, she followed her heart and has continued to grow and learn and believes that above all people have to stop comparing each other and just go for what’s best for them.
Seeing the successes of those that came before us and have allowed us to serve now is an important part in giving perspective and hope for our time at City Year.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining City Year, click here for information about the application process. The next application deadline is January 26th.