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#HumansOfCYTulsa: service with City Year helps alumnus develop passion, skills and purpose to fight food insecurity

For a special alumni edition of #HumansOfCYTulsa, we present #AlumniOfCYTulsa:

My time with City Year Tulsa has and will continue to serve as the foundation for my lifelong mission to leave things better than I found them. Not only was I able to serve as a near-peer tutor and mentor for many brilliant North Tulsa students, but this experience helped me to see Tulsa through their eyes.

My students and I saw our hometown often in similar ways, but too often differ in terms of hope. For me, I knew there could be a bright future for Tulsa, but my students still needed to realize that for themselves.

Throughout my service with City Year Tulsa, I saw up-close many barriers that impede students from reaching graduation that are outside of the well-documented school-funding shortfalls. Things such as walkable neighborhoods to and from school, a lack of racial diversity in the teachers and school staff they interact with, and a disinterest in the academic experience due to food insecurity.

I now better understand why I am where I am today. While serving on the City Year McLain School Team, I had the privilege of fostering communication skills in addition to tutoring and mentoring students through tasks like organizing our team newsletters and managing our team social media account.

I took the communication skills I developed my service year and coupled them with the knowledge of the alarming amount of childhood hunger that exists in Oklahoma schools. I now proudly serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Hunger Free Oklahoma.

In my current role I can help spread awareness of the food insecurity that exists closer than many of us realize, and because I witnessed this issue first-hand with students I served it means that much more to me.

Not only did City Year Tulsa provide me with the passion for service, but also the skills, direction and a cause I can work to address. With the professional development I received, I have been able to continue to my service in the nonprofit world through my work with communications.

It is a full circle experience of understanding why we serve, who are impacted by that service, what impacts them and what role you can play to help make things better.

City Year Tulsa has helped me combine my passions and skills into work I can leave the office every day proud of. And, that is by far the best professional development I could have ever imagined when I put on that red jacket.

My name is Allen Collins and I am proud to have served with City Year Tulsa at McLain High School during the 2017-2018 school year.

To learn more about City Year Alumni life, view the results of our Alumni Survey. #makebetterhappen

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