We have eleven amazing young adults serving as Team Leaders this year in our schools. The Team Leader's role is to help support their team of AmeriCorps members through their service year, be a liasion between staff and corps members, and to fill in around the school in a variety of ways. Here are bios of three of those fabulous leaders! We have also included their Why I Serve Statement, something every AmeriCorps member writes at the beginning of their service year. Next time you meet an AmeriCorps member, ask them why they serve!

Zaynab Malik- Team Leader at Wing Luke Elementary School

Why I Serve Statement: I serve because every student deserves an advocate and the tools to advocate for themselves.

Having been born in Seattle, and spending her early childhood in Federal Way, Zaynab believes it has been such an honor to move back to Seattle after graduating college to join City Year. Last school year, she served at Highland Park Elementary where she learned and laughed with a phenomenal partner teacher and 33 spectacular, brilliant 5th graders. Although new and challenging, she found a lot of passion and motivation for working in education. She is beyond stoked to join the Wing Luke team this year (a school City Year Seattle is returning to after being away for six years), where she will be continuing to define what it means for her to show up as an advocate for students through supporting 8 incredible AmeriCorps members in their work. Having studied Drama (Directing) at the University of California, Irvine, she am in pursuit of work that melds her different passions. She would love to facilitate spaces for students to find their artistic/creative/innermost selves as she was lucky enough to have. Outside of work, you might find her hanging out with her cat, hiking, singing, drawing, baking, and talking about how she need to read more.

Akhila Sriram, Team Leader at Graham Hill Elementary School

Why I Serve Statement: I serve again because every students and AmeriCorps member deserves a cheerleader in their corner!

Akhila is from the Tri-Cities, Washington (born in Kennewick, grew up in Richland). She graduated in May 2017 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in math with minors in English and world literature. While at Case, she joined Phi Sigma Rho sorority for women in engineering and technical sciences and was involved in community service in Cleveland. She loves spending time and watching tons of movies and TV shows with friends. She was drawn to City Year by the overlap of her passions for reading and mathematics and love of volunteering. She was drawn to serve as a Team Leader because of the connections she built with her students and her need to support other people doing this impactful service. Her plans for next year are fluid: potentially traveling or teaching English abroad or going to graduate school.

Christie Gomez, Team Leader at Van Asselt Elementary School

Why I Serve Statement: I serve because I believe that every child deserves someone who listens, cares, and believes in them, every single day.

Christie was born in Watsonville, California and lived there until she was 11 years old. In 2005, Christie and her family moved to Pembroke Pines, Florida where she lived until she moved to Orlando for college. She attended the University of Central Florida (UCF) where she studied Elementary Education and minored in English Language Arts Education. Throughout her college career, Christie ventured on several volunteer experiences, and each one deepened her love for service. Furthermore, Christie has always wanted to be a teacher and that is her dream job! Christie has worked with children in many different settings including coaching basketball at the YMCA, being a camp counselor, intern, substitute teacher, and working at Build-a-Bear Workshop. Some of her hobbies include playing basketball, hiking, traveling, and reading. Christie decided to do City Year because it encompasses two of her favorite things – service and education. Christie served as a corps member at Roxhill Elementary School last year and is excited to be back for another year with City Year as a team leader at Van Asselt Elementary School!

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