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Alumni Spotlight- December

Each month as part of our alumni newsletter, we hope to feature some of our amazing alumni and what they’ve been up to since City Year! This month, hear from 4 of our alumni who were part of the 2008-2009 Corps, and what they’re up to a decade later!

Amanda Jennison-Sousa ‘09

After City Year I worked as an intern at a National Park in Arizona, before moving back to New Hampshire and becoming a teaching assistant. I got married to my CY sweetheart and we moved to TN where I was accepted into the TeachTenessee Fellowship and the rest is history. Since then I have taught both Spanish and ESL to all levels from kindergarten to adult in TN, HI, CO, NH, in Spain, and online. I’ve worked in charter, public, and private schools. Currently I am Spanish/IB faculty at the New Hampton School, a small residential school in the Lakes Region.

Andy Schafer ‘09 ‘10

After CY I decided to stay in NH and get an Associate Degree at the University of New Hampshire. I then proceeded to get a dual B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs. I was able to study abroad in Amman, Jordan to study Arabic, which was inspired by the large number of refugee and immigrant children I worked with in my corps year. Following that I moved to Washington DC for a job in Sales. I have turned that first sales job into a job involving strategy and innovation at a global level where I get to work with people all over the world.

I got married in Ireland in 2019 and was able to take my Honeymoon in Bora Bora this year. I am also celebrating a promotion last week, so 2020 has not been too bad overall for me. I think the biggest thing(s) that have stuck with me through my professional career has been the ability to work with people, and more importantly, collaborate with people from different background with different experiences and views on how to accomplish a goal. Approaching new jobs, projects, and initiatives with an open mind and being willing to listen to different ideas ultimately helps you grown and make an informed decision. When you allow people to help you come to a conclusion or decision, they feel more invested in the success of that vision.

Michael Hill Jr. ’08 ‘09

My experience within both the Middle School in Manchester and the Alternative program coupled with my learning during my Masters of Social Work program assisted me in developing and creating a youth and young adult serving community based program at a local non-profit. The program is called the Multicultural Youth Program and after receiving my MSW, I took on a dual role of Program Director/Community-based Case Manager to increase equitable access for youth/young adults of color. During the process of obtaining my MSW, I had my son who is 5 years old now. He is my fuel for all that I do!

I have been working as an interdisciplinary social worker for these past years in a variety of community-based and school-based roles. While directing and coordinating this program I started doing Equity Consultation for educational institutions, mental health agencies, and non-profit organizations. I registered my agency officially this past summer as EJHFutures, LLC, (with my son’s initials) but I have been doing it for almost 4 years now. I’m pursuing a Doctorate in Education right now at the University of Vermont and my research is focused on changing policy and professional practices for substance use service providers who work with youth and young adults to center non-dominant identities more. I am also in the process of writing a Young Adult Graphic Novel too.

Samantha Smith ’09 ‘10

After City Year, I returned to my previous job as a server as I looked for my career. I went back to college for another semester to help lead the campus LGBT+ group and help shape it from a purely social space to a safe space for students to advocate for inclusive changes on campus and also create awareness that LGBT+ folks were in Kansas and were people like everyone else. It was then that I was offered a management position with Olive Garden, which I took as I searched for another position that would make me feel as fulfilled as CY. To my surprise in my time as a restaurant manager, and now General Manager, I have been able to use the skills I developed during my service years to help employees find inspiration for their future path in life. I have also been on the flip side of in kind donations and have been honored to help out local non-profits and school events upon request. My company also donates our viable food waste (reached our shelf life but still great food) to our local soup kitchens weekly. I live in Wichita, KS with my wife and 8 month old daughter, with another little one on the way.

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