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What #MakeBetterHappen Means to Me

If you follow City Year on any social media platform or know anything about it, you have probably seen #MakeBetterHappen tagged on a post or mentioned. #MakeBetterHappen is used frequently to connect all City Year posts together and share our service work with the digital world. But what does it mean to Make Better Happen and how exactly does one Make Better Happen? To answer that we will have to dive deep into the world of City Year culture and understand a day in the life of a Corps Member walking through the halls of a school wearing that bright red jacket.

The formal definition of better is ‘of a more excellent or effective type or quality’ similar words are ‘superior and finer’. Each and every day, we as City Year AmeriCorps members are trying to improve the quality of our student’s day and make their school experience more excellent. We do this by teaching them how to build their studying habits to be more effective and show them we are invested in putting them on a path to a fine future. To accomplish these tasks, we build a near peer relationship with our students and give them the necessary support they need to thrive in school.

At 7:45 am in the Westside of San Antonio my team stands outside to greet 7th and 8th graders with a light up speaker and Taylor Swift playing so loud the High School across the street can hear it as well. Up until 8:30 am students walk up with smirks on their faces, high fiving and fist bumping us as they enter for a new day of school. Through each class period, walking around the halls you will spot City Years sitting in the hall with students as they crank out math problems, write about their favorite conspiracy theories, and listen about the struggle of surviving 7th grade P.E. No matter what the problem or issue is, school related or not, our students know we are here to make it better. After the school day ends, we provide our After – School clubs and tutoring. Such clubs include Dance, Photography, Gardening, Sports, Arts and Crafts, World Issues, Sign Language and Game Club. This creates a space for students to feel safe and build up their strengths in the activities they love while learning more about themselves. Beginning and ending the day on a positive note helps keep our students motivated to strive to be their best selves. Not every day is easy, some present challenges, but our students’ perseverance prove why this work is crucial. As we coach and tutor, we are learning from them as well. Not only in the newest lingo and apps but also in how to be honest and open with ourselves, and be the best role models they deserve.

To most people, middle school years are their least favorite; everyday seems to bring new awkward moments. To them the world is so big and as their minds are developing quickly it can be impossible to keep up. But to us, these years are beautiful. It means we can shape and present the world to them knowing they have a place in it, belong exactly where they are. We wear our big red jackets with pride so our students know we are here to make their day better and no matter what, we are dedicated to ensuring that happens.

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