compiled by Tyler Jones
Every year, each of our AmeriCorps members has the opportunity to share a brief statement about why they have chosen to serve a year with City Year. Here is what three of our AmeriCorps members had to say about their commitment to service:
“I serve because this past year showed me that there is no better chance we have to change this world for the better than to work with brilliant, passionate, incredibly kind people; and to share in their determination to teach children that they can be those people, too.”
When I got to college I was really unsure of who I was or where I wanted to go with my life. I entered my sophomore year signed up for a bunch of classes that looked interesting to me, one of which was an introductory class to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS). Through that course, I discovered how passionate I was about social justice, and met other people who shared that passion. I ended up majoring in Sociology and WGSS, and worked for 3 years with the social justice organizations on my campus. My work there and my first year at City Year last year have showed me that to do this work, when it can be so hard, so overwhelming, and so draining, you need to surround yourself with amazing people. There is no shortage of them here at City Year, both within our corps and at our schools and the surrounding community. I am so incredibly grateful and proud to be here.
Cadence Pentheny, Service Leader at McDonough Elementary School
"I serve because I want to be a reason why someone wouldn't give up on their aspirations. I serve because someone believed in me once and was my reason, and I aspire to ripple it out."
I grew up in Nepal where it is very common to see ranks in class based on academic performance. I used to look at other "bright" students in the class who would be the top three in class and would always think that it was something very unattainable for me. I wasn't very confident about my academic performance until I was in 6th grade. Starting in that year, I was personally mentored after school by a teacher- Ms. Rukiya Bhutiya, who taught at my school.
Ms. Bhutiya's academic strength was English. However, it wasn't knowledge of academics that I mostly learned from her but rather hard work, perseverance, and persistence. She taught me effective habits to study and be a more hardworking student. In an academic year in Nepal, there are three term exams for math, science and English, and the results on those exams determine our ranks on each term. Until 5th grade, I usually would be around 15th or 20th place in a class size of around 30 kids. In 6th grade, I was the 1st place student on all three term exams. My peers started noticing me more for my “talents.” This in turn boosted my confidence even further. I started taking part in more extra-curricular activities and became more proactive in general.
Had it not been for Ms. Bhutiya, I would have never thought that I was smart enough to pursue anything in life or thought of myself as a "bright student." Had it not been for her, I wouldn't have persistently studied throughout my undergraduate years and graduated with honors in my degree. Had it not been for her, I would have never dared to have confidence to pursue my ambition of being a doctor in the future.
I aspire to make my students aware of the magic of hard work and perseverance no matter what they do. I want to teach them to be very stubborn about their dreams and aspirations because I know that nothing is "unattainable" if you set your mind and heart to it. Ms. Bhutiya engraved this in my young mind some 11 years ago and I wish to ripple this to the young minds of my students.
Anuja Dulal, serving at McDonough Elementary School
“I serve because of my desire to give back to society and make a positive difference in the lives of others. I serve because of my love for children, and my belief that every child deserves equal opportunities to learn and grow, to dream, and to be ever better.”
I have always loved working with children, and I chose to serve at City Year in Manchester, because it allows me to give back to the city and state that has been such an important element in shaping the person I am today, and that has made an impact in my life. I want to support the children of Manchester so that they may reach their goals, and one day make a positive difference in our world and be the change we need to see. As someone who is able, I believe it is time to be proactive, not reactive.
No matter a child’s race, gender, or economic status, I believe they deserve equal opportunities. As an individual who was blessed with the chance to attend my dream university, the University of Rochester, I want to inspire children to believe that their own dreams can come true if they believe in themselves, no matter what the circumstance. I hope to demonstrate kindness and confidence so that they may learn to be motivated and do their very best every day. Children have so much to give, but they need others to believe in them as well. I want to instill my University’s motto, “meliora,” which means “ever better.”
"Meliora is not just [my] University’s motto; it’s an ethic that we share as a community. It’s a way of life that unites us in a common bond and a powerful description of who we are and what we value."  We seek to be ever better not just for ourselves and our region, but to serve our nation and our world. We never settle for the world the way it is. We consistently strive to reach further, embrace rigor and hard work, and take the lead in matters of the mind and heart. Meliora is the mission to learn, discover, heal, and create. It inspires us to expand the limits of knowledge and tackle the most complex problems. Meliora galvanizes us to improve the health and well-being of our communities, and moves us to expand the imagination, to explore, to perfect, and to innovate.
I stand by that motto to be ever better, and I hope to instill this in my students so that they may feel confident to instill this in others. Improving each of my student’s lives even the smallest amount will impact us in return. As you build up the community, it enriches your own life, ultimately striving for a common good. My students are my joy, and the challenging days are what push me to work harder. I cannot wait to grow through this experience and see what the students accomplish over my year of service.
Molly Goldstein, serving at McDonough Elementary School
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 October 27th.