By Yessi Garcia, AmeriCorps Members Serving at Beech Street Elementary School

The beginning of fourth grade for Marcus was hard.

His behavior was not the greatest. Whenever I would try to engage in conversation with him he would ignore me. I wasn’t surprised when he was added to my 50 Acts of Greatness focus list. 50 Acts of Greatness is a program when we eat lunch with students and help develop socio-emotional skills. It’s an opportunity to build relationships while teaching valuable lessons. With Marcus, however, lesson after lesson, it felt like I was making zero progress.

Over time, slowly but surely, his behavior did begin to change. One of the biggest lessons he has taken away from our “lunch bunch” is trust. During one of our check-in sessions, my classroom teacher, Mrs. Boulanger, mentioned that Marcus had opened up to her. She said the lesson he had with me on trust really made him think. He told Mrs. Boulanger she was the first adult he felt he truly trusted, and he proceeded to tell her his story about how he came to the United States. It warms my heart to think that not only is he able to confide in Mrs. Boulanger, but that I have made a small impact upon how he interacts with those around him.

Marcus’ behavior has improved. No, his days are not perfect but the effort is always there. He is no longer the boy who ignores me or yells at me whenever I would try to speak to him. He is engaged in learning, always looks for positive reinforcement.  Most importantly, he is happy.

While City Year’s work is to improve academic success among Manchester’s most challenged students, achieving that outcome requires comprehensive attention, from a student’s behavior and attendance to hard core tutoring in Language Arts and Math. Each day, and across eight schools serving 4,000 students, CYNH AmeriCorps members like me provide students like Marcus with the tools they need to succeed not only in school, but in life.

City Year cannot do this work without you. Your donation gives Marcus the support and experiences he’ll need to not only succeed this year, but to become a better student who is prepared to succeed every year. It’s that simple and that urgent.

Join your fellow Granite Staters on Tuesday, June 7th for NH Gives Day, a 24 hour online giving challenge, to help City Year reach 280 students likes Marcus through 50 Acts of Greatness and other programs to impact school success.

Please learn more about our work and give online at nhgives.org/organizations/city-year-new-hampshire.

Yessi Garcia

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