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Q&A with Riley Henry, First Year AmeriCorps Member

From: Fort Lauderdale, FL

School: University of Florida

Joe Matty: Riley, first of all, thanks for being open to chatting about your experience joining City Year. Seeing as starting the year remotely is new for everyone tell me about what it was like going through virtual Basic Training Academy.

Riley Henry: I had a positive experience with BTA, even though it was virtual. I particularly appreciated all of the team builders that helped me feel like I was part of a community. At first, building the BTA team virtually was difficult since speaking on Zoom is intimidating. However, with the team builders, open conversation, and time, I felt a lot more comfortable with my team and happy to share out.

JM: I know how crucial having a supportive team is to a successful service year, so I am really excited to hear that you were still able to build great connections virtually. On the learning side, what was a session that stood out to you?

RH: My favorite BTA training was the parent call back training because I thought this was the most applicable to what we will be doing as CY members and had a simple but informative process on how we will be doing it. Also, I thought that the roleplaying activity was one of the most helpful activities in feeling comfortable in my role.

JM: So I know it is early but what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in training and how have you tackled it?

RH: My biggest challenge was my own shyness at points speaking out and being more comfortable with a big group. However, after getting to know more people and other City Year members building me up, I feel a lot more confident in what I have to say and not being afraid to speak out.

JM: Well I am so glad you had a rewarding experience so far even with the unorthodox and challenging situation that COVID has placed us all in. My final question is given the challenges of service particularly in this moment, what led you to City Year?

RH: I chose to serve with City Year Sacramento so that I can dedicate myself to a complete year of service. I hope to serve the students to the best of my abilities, give them the resources they need to succeed, and support them so that they can experience school in the best way possible. I know school for me wasn’t a great experience, and I want to help the kids have an experience much better than mine.

JM: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today, Riley. I look forward to seeing the impact you and all our corps members make this year.

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