AmeriCorps Member Spotlight

Each school day, 84 AmeriCorps members are serving 4,400 students in 10 south Seattle schools. City Year is one of the few organizations that work full-time in schools, where City Year AmeriCorps members arrive before the first bell rings and leave once the last student departs well after the school day has ended. For this Back to School edition, we turn the spotlight on Jessica Garcia, who has chosen to do a second year of service with City Year Seattle in the specific leadership role of Team Leader at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle. 


How do you know you are making a difference with students? I know that I make a difference when the student who hated math wants to continue practicing his times table, or when the student who struggles with reading gets excited about going to our reading sessions. The newfound confidence that students gain in their academic abilities, especially with material that they struggled in is astounding.

Why do you think City Year is necessary for Seattle? I think it’s less about me thinking that City Year is necessary for Seattle, and it’s more of an understanding that because of the way that history has played out and contrary to the efforts of many great teachers and advocates we are working in an education system that has not taken into account the needs of a diverse student body. As I see it City Year will no longer be necessary in Seattle or anywhere else when we have reached complete educational equity.

Tell us about your decision to serve for a second year. I love the culture, and when I say culture I don’t mean the clapping, snapping and chanting. It’s more about the intangible aspects of City Year culture that I thoroughly enjoy. It’s the acceptance and encouragement I receive from every individual. I appreciate the fact that City Year places an emphasis on human connections. It’s really exciting to be part of a network full of passionate and dedicated people who are striving to improve outcomes for students.

What is your greatest hope for this school year? My greatest hope for this year is to provide excellent support and resources to the team of AmeriCorps members that I’m leading. I am really excited to see the great service they will provide to students.

What is the one word that defines City Year for you? Crucial.


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