I finally turned in my acceptance letter for City Year Milwaukee today. I’m really excited for this experience ahead of me. I’m certainly nervous and I think it’s because I know that this is going to be a life-changing experience for me. Last time I had this feeling, I was accepting a summer position with Breakthrough.
“Young people willing to commit to public service deserve to live free from the crushing burden of student debt,” said Clinton in a statement Thursday. “In the same way we provided for our returning veterans with the G.I. Bill, we must commit to those who serve our communities at home.”
Take a look into the lives of City Year, Los Angeles Virgil Middle School.
This is a video documentation of a year in the life of a City Year Corps Member. City Year is an education nonprofit through Americorps that works to help students with attendance, behavior and course performance.
Little did I know that helping students would really end up helping me. I learned so much this year from my co-workers, supervisors, partner teachers, but MOST OF ALL my students. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with anyone you want :D
***I do not in anyway represent the thoughts of City Year or AmeriCorps. This is my own personal project independently from my work as a corps member. This is an interpretation of my experiences.****
This is my City Year DC team! I work in a sixth grade inclusion classroom, meaning I deal with kids who have been labeled as “special needs”. It makes for an interesting experience every day, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I have three months to go and plan to cherish every day with my team and my students.
A very strong 9th grader, venting about one of her peers use of the word, “stress”
“Stress? I told him, ‘You don’t know about stress..’ losing your brother, mother, grandmother, uncle and half your family…worrying about getting a job, worrying about your family, worrying about if you’re going to have a home to stay in…that’s stress.”
Somehow, she still manages to keep a smile on her face. This Thanksgiving, I’m extra thankful for my family, the roof over my head, and being a part of City Year to grow, learn, and meet all of these extraordinary people.
Who says it’s hard to go to work when you have amazing students to see and a great group to work 11 hours with?!
With all the hard times, the frustration (occasionally) and the busy life you may lead with this job, having a supportive, fun team to be with helps me get through thick and thin. They seriously keep me grounded and I’m so FORTUNATE to say that I have these wonderful people to be my teammates. WE DO WORK, and we have fun doing it.
I LOVE READING…and today, my kids did, too! I’m a tutor/mentor in the 6th grade. Things often go awry. Kids get moody, or distracted, or are just disinterested.
Today…everything just…worked! I try not to come in with my hopes too high because they rarely focus as much as you’d like, or get as far as you know they can but today…today they astounded me! First, we started reading a book in a girl’s small-group; seven of my 6th grade girls came out of class with me for it. Of course, there was the usual excitement at being out of class and the accompanying chit-chat. Plus, some of them were “the” 6th grade girls: the junior plastics (See: “Mean Girls”). But then we wrote expectations for our group. I told them I wanted them to come up with the expectations themselves, that way if they didn’t keep them (expectations are really just rules lol), they’d have their own selves to blame. Everyone participated in making the list. We wrote out 10 expectations to govern our behavior during small-group time. I said that whenever someone was breaking a rule, I’d just mention the # expectation they were dishonoring to remind them to get in line. They wrote all ten on an index card, and referenced them to keep themselves and each other in line and not one cat fight broke out. IT WORKED!
I gave them another index card to use as a bookmark. On it, I told them they should write words they couldn’t pronounce or didn’t know the meaning of. At first, I’d have to make them pause in between paragraphs and prompt them to write words I knew they didn’t know. Pretty soon, however, they were pausing in between their reading to write words down themselves. And when it seemed a lot of them were stumped on the same word, they had small discussions using context clues to figure out the meaning. IT WORKED! We got through the whole first chapter today. Everyone was genuinely interested. Everyone is excited to come back tomorrow! IT WOOORKED!
When I returned the girls to their English class, the teacher asked if I would mind taking out another group for small-group reading. WHAT?! Of course, I don’t mind! TWO PULL-OUTS BACK TO BACK?! I live for this! So, I end up with a group of four boys and I was a little sad because none of them are the kids I usually try to spend targeted time with (because they’re off-track academically and need individualized attention). But then, he sent out one of my girls that I wasn’t able to get into the girls reading group. She has a hard time focusing and its worse when she’s with her girls so it’s probably best she ended up in the group with the boys. The passage ended up being about the history of baseball and the (lack of) black history in it. I was afraid I might lose them since its nonfiction, vocabulary heavy, and they’re so easily distracted. However, we went over the vocabulary terms first and we discussed. They asked questions throughout the reading and voiced their opinions on what they were reading. Everyone managed to stay involved with a little redirection and guided reading, we got through the entire passage with time to spare for further discussion! IT WORKED!
Today taught me to have a little faith in my kids and a little faith in me. Today has been a great day :)
My freshman year of high school i met the most amazing woman, her name was Veronica (Ms. Veronica) and she worked for this organization based at my school called City Year. I didn’t know what her purpose was but I knew that when i grew up I wanted to do what she was doing. She would greet me every morning with the brightest smile and said that she was always available to help me whenever i needed it. Down in our lunch room we had the City Year area which was this room decked out in City Year paraphernalia where students could go and study or just chill during their respective lunch times. Later in the year Ms. Veronica along with others helped put on the school’s talent show and they did an amazing job. I didn’t know what her purpose was but i wanted to be just like her….now today i stand before you as the recruitment chair for Villanova University representing City Year on the campus. I’m hours away from turning in my application and (hopefully) months away from my dreams coming true and getting that email or phone call that says that I’ve made it and that i’m an official City Year corps member…I’m on my way to #makebetterhappen #CITYYEAR #giveayear #changetheworld