by Juliette Rocheleau, Senior AmeriCorps Member on the Capital Area United Way team at Capitol Middle School

During the last few semesters of my time in college, the inevitable struggle to clarify my post graduate next steps started weighing down on me. But in the end, the question was never what? -- I knew that I wanted to serve. The question became how?

I began researching like a fiend, and the program possibilities seemed endless. Physical service or teaching? Youth or adults? Domestic or international? I started to feel like I was searching for a needle in a haystack. And then I found City Year. What initially motivated me to apply for City Year and ultimately join the organization was the teamwork aspect driving all elements of the job. So in the summer of 2013, I graduated from college, kissed my mom, grabbed my cat, and made the long drive down from Ohio to Louisiana to pursue my corps year with City Year Baton Rouge.

During my corps year, I served in a seventh grade English Language Arts classroom, where I met students with sharp tongues and sharper wit and joined a team of diverse individuals from all over the States. At first I was nervous- a group of strangers working in close proximity seemed like a recipe for disaster. But as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” After ten months with my team, I knew that I was not finished. It is almost two years later and I am still with CYBR. Amazingly, I have been given the honor of serving my Senior Corps Member year as a Team Leader at the same school I served my first corps member year, Capitol Middle School.

I miss my teammates with whom I first joined City Year, the ones with whom I made up call backs and morning greeting cheers and created after school programming and planned student appreciation pizza parties. And I am excited to take the best parts of my first corps year and share them with my current team now. I was in school for sixteen years before I joined City Year, but I can honestly say that I have never grown more or learned as much as I have in the last two years as a corps member. It’s six months into my second service year, and I can already tell you: I’m still not finished with City Year.

Are you interested in joining the corps? The next application deadline is February 15!

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