In mid-December, 13 first year AmeriCorps members from City Year New Hampshire attended City Year’s Northeast Leadership Academy. This three day conference brought together corps members from City Year sites in Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York who have demonstrated excellent service and leadership potential. Hosted at City Year Headquarters in Boston, attendees met senior leaders at City Year and participated in workshops focused on networking, leadership, and personal development. All participants have an opportunity to share what they learned with the larger City Year New Hampshire site at the Advanced Training Retreat in January.

The corps members that represented CYNH included: Shea Lonergan (Bakersville), Elizabeth Valencia (Beech), Alliy Schrader and Tatiyana Murray (Gossler Park), Lyssette Valencia and Arthur Lyon (Hallsville), Allen Magnusson and Sravani Kumar (McDonough), Sheshank Mageshwar and Emily Kuzcka (Northwest), Phil Nguyen and Bianca Nelson (Parker-Varney), and Molly Hennessey (Wilson).

Learn more about the experience from Shea, Allen, and Phil:

“I originally applied to NELA because I knew deep down that I have all the potential to be a great leader but still lack the confidence in my own ability to do so. I am constantly filled with self-doubt, whether it be questioning if I am making the greatest impact in my students lives or being the best teammate I can be. My time at NELA opened my mind and my heart to the idea that to second guess myself is okay. It is okay to feel uncomfortable and uncertain, and to question my thoughts and actions as a leader. These moments of discomfort and uncertainty have allowed me to embrace the challenge zone during my service at City Year. Without the challenges that come with this year of service, I would be stagnant; I would experience no change or no growth, and my mission to make better happen for my students, myself, and our shared community would be entirely impossible.”

– Shea Lonergan, first year AmeriCorps member at CYNH

“I would classify myself as a relatively heavy coffee drinker, but the amount of caffeine I consumed during my three days at NELA was somewhat unprecedented. The time I spent in Boston, alongside City Year corps members and leadership staff from all over the Northeast region, were among the most exhausting and rewarding in recent memory. This is undoubtedly a tough time of year for all of us in our job—the holidays inch nearer, but the cold sets in more and more aggressively, and the sun retreats beyond the horizon a little earlier each day. It’s at this mid-year vertex where I think reestablishing our perspectives, commitments, and sense of community is more important than ever. NELA acted as a wonderful catalyst for all of these essentials, forcing us to take a step back from the immediate duties of our service year, and to focus instead on the bedrock that underlies the work of any successful team or community. We were given chances to learn extensively about leadership—not as being elevated figureheads, but as being effective communicators and collaborators who come in a myriad of varieties. I think most valuable was the opportunity to hear corps members’ experiences from around the region. There was a sense of overwhelming solidarity in learning that, despite differences in our jobs particular to city or district or school, we all faced the same basic struggles, yet remained adamantly optimistic in our desire to make an impact. I’m positive that the knowledge I gained at NELA will provide me with drive and purpose, and I am excited to become a more productive leader in my school team and larger community. It’s time for a much-needed holiday break, and then to return and serve as our best selves.”

– Allen Magnusson, first year AmeriCorps Member at CYNH

“Being surrounded by so many passionate and remarkable individuals at NELA rekindled the fire I had for service at the start of the year. Among the many things I learned, what stuck was the seminar on authentic leadership. Leadership is both quiet and loud; simple and elegant; firm yet gracious. I could lead by example through the grace of my words, the power of my ideas, the quality of my service, or the degree to which I uplift those I serve with. There is no one exact way to lead.”

– Phil Nguyen, first year AmeriCorps Member at CYNH

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