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Living the Legacy

Connecting with the Corps – An AMC MLK Experience

Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day is a National Day of Service? MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and volunteer to improve their communities.  City Year New Hampshire worked with Manchester MLK Coalition to highlight our students through an art and writing competition that highlighted Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community. City Year service member Vanessa Mckelly presented the student winners and shared her service experience and involvement in the MLK event. 


As an AmeriCorps City Year Member, how would you describe what you do every day? 

I arrive at my school at 7:30 to meet with my team and discuss what is going on for the day. Then at 8:15, we go outside to the car drop-off and greet the students so they can see a welcoming face at the start of their day! I go into my classroom at 8:40 to greet my students and hear what they did last night and what they plan to do over the next few days. I tend to help my students during Amplify by helping them comprehend the passages they need to read and answer. At 10:20 it’s time for specials, sometimes I go with them, but typically this is where I get my planning done. They return at 11:05 and then shift to W.I.N (What I Need), this is where they work to strengthen their reading skills. After that, they practice Cursive, and I help by providing moral support and encouragement. Before we know it, it’s time for lunch, I like to sit with my students at lunch; we talk about nonsense and just laugh together. During recess, I float around and watch them play with their friends. At 1:15 we go inside and start winding down from the thrill of recess and at 1:30 we start math. We try our best to finish our work in the time frame, but my biggest priority is having them understand what they are learning rather than getting the worksheet completed. At 2:30 it’s time to pack up and go home!! I help my partner teacher with dismissing the students then my team meets back together and travels back to the office to prepare for the next day!! 


Recently you helped with the MLK coalition student art and writing contest, can you tell me about that?

Yes! A team of corps members and staff worked to figure out what we were going to give out to the students as a prompt. We researched some of Dr. King’s speeches and prompts we could share, then we divided them by age and grade group to give each student a fair advantage. Once we got the approval from everyone, we designed the flyers and sent them off to the participating schools. We got submissions a week later and started judging.  We picked preliminary ones that showed the legacy of MLK. We then shared them with the rest of the Corps, and they helped us choose finalists. 


How were the winners announced? 

Winners were announced at individual schools over the intercoms and given a congratulation certificate and an invitation to the MLK coalition event that was hosted on Monday, January 15th, at Memorial High School. Students were able to join us at the MLK Event to be recognized and we had all student entries displayed for event attendees to enjoy.  


Did you enjoy being involved in the event? 

Yes, I enjoyed being involved! Since I was young, I have always loved to be a part of something that can be bigger – it is just an amazing feeling. Especially with the contest including all of our schools for the event, it was just amazing! 


Why would you recommend someone serve with CYNH?

It is a smaller site, so you know everyone. Also, the staff members have a chance to know who you are on a more personal level rather than the surface level. Also, the students that are in the district are the sweetest, most creative group of students you will ever meet! You will have stories for days about the wacky things they do but they will make you feel special and appreciative in a different way than you have ever experienced! 

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