Just like that, the year 2018 is officially in the history books and we are already 20 days into 2019. While this is often a time of new beginnings for many (the phrase “New year, new me” comes to mind), the start of the calendar year marks the midway point for those of us at City Year.
Throughout the first half of this school year City Year Philadelphia’s 200+ AmeriCorps members covered a lot of ground and achieved significant milestones while serving in 19 elementary, middle, and high schools across the city (check out Winter Celebration Brings Fun and Time to Reflect). Joining the quest to make better happen, are 13 newly minted AmeriCorps members helping to make even greater impact.
Say Hello to City Year Philadelphia’s Mid-Year Corps!
During their welcome week, City Year Philly’s mid-years shared their thoughts on serving and what they’re most looking forward to as they set out to work with Philadelphia school students.
“Educating children is the best investment that we can make for our future,” says Valerie Roberts from Frankfort, Kentucky. Valerie wanted to experience life in the city so she packed her bags and drove 10 hours to serve with City Year Philly. She hopes to meet and have life-changing experiences with her students. She also wants to use to the opportunity to learn more about herself. “I’m passionate about service and this work because I want to leave this earth better than I found it. “
Toward the end of her first week, Valerie -- along with the other mid-year corps members -- had a chance to shadow current corps members who are already actively working inside schools. For Valerie, she describes the experience as the most fulfilling day she has ever had. “Meeting the children and seeing them smile -- as cheesy as it sounds -- was incredibly beautiful. It was not an easy day, but those positive interactions made everything worth it.”
'I Was Once a Student in this School District'
For Julian Maestre, a mid-year corps member from North Philadelphia, having been a student within the School District of Philadelphia is what impacted his decision to serve with City Year. “I was once a student in this school district and I know how much they need support from young people within the city. It is easier for students to connect with people who understand their situations.” Julian says he hopes that City Year will enable him to gain personal growth, particularly in learning to be more open, building relationships, and networking with new people.
When asked about his experience of shadowing current corps members Julian says, “I loved shadowing. As soon as I met the students one of them gave me an orange. I thought that was very sweet and generous.” The City Year team at the school proved to be very welcoming as well. “I was happy to have been able to connect with a few corps members on a personal level.”
Dejah Watson, a mid-year corps member from South Philadelphia and graduate of Lock Haven University, joined City Year because service is what she plans to do in life. “I decided to serve with City Year because when I graduated from Lock Haven University, I knew I wanted to get my Master's degree in Education. City Year could be the stepping stone to ensure this goal happens.”
Additionally, Dejah hopes to empower students and provide resources and support that she didn’t receive when she was young. “Hopefully I can see a difference and make learning an easy and fun experience for all the students I interact with.”
After a day of shadowing at Thurgood Marshall Middle School where she will be serving, Dejah says that the experience was notably eye opening. “Before shadowing, I wanted to do service at a high school. Considering that my transition from eighth to ninth grade was rough since I did not have much support, I thought I could make the biggest difference there. However, from being at Thurgood Marshall it showed me that working with younger students could prove to be better for me.”
Looking Forward to MLK Day, City Year Philly's Largest Service Day
January is a key time of the year at City Year. In addition to new incoming corps members, January marks City Year Philadelphia’s annual MLK Day of Service -- consistently the second largest community service event in the city honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, over 100 murals will be painted at Kensington High School with the help of 1,000 volunteers near and far.
Mid-year corps members expressed excitement about taking part in their first service day with City Year. Says Acey Calhoun from the southeastern region of Washington, D.C., “I am very excited and I am looking forward to beautifying the school and painting. I also love doing community service.”
It’s never too late to serve with City Year. Whether you begin your service at the beginning of the year or join our mid-year corps, you’ll have the opportunity to make better happen for students who can benefit from it most. We have ongoing application submissions throughout the year with the next application deadline being January 25. Apply today!