There are a variety of reasons why at City Year, we love San José. It’s an incredible city for our AmeriCorps members to live and work in, with no shortage of great weather, good food and diverse communities.
But none of these reasons fully compete with the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of students by serving with City Year San José. It’s a life-changing experience that will be both challenging and rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to show up for students every day, helping to create an environment where they feel personally valued and academically supported.
Hear straight from young adults who know what it takes to help build education equity in San José as they share insight about how to make time with City Year count—for you, your team and your students.
Come prepared to teach, but also be ready to learn.
“When we enter our service year, we are motivated to change the lives of children for the better. We hope to teach them to be more equipped students and respectful classmates,” says Paolo Aligada, a City Year San José AmeriCorps alumnus who served at Donald J. Meyer Elementary School from 2017-2018.
As important as helping students progress in English and math is, Paolo says, he believes his service year goes much deeper than a student’s test scores. “In the same way I am serving with City Year to teach students, our students have so much to offer and teach us,” he says. “Perhaps, we simply need to be open enough to genuinely listen and share a laugh with them.”
Read on to learn more about how Paolo learned to be both student and teacher.
Know that your service promotes social justice.
The social justice aspect of her service and of City Year’s culture is critical for alumna Crismerly Santibañez. “I truly believe that most people want to live in a fair world. A world where the color of one’s skin or the place one was born does not dictate our success,” she says.”
Crismerly believes that “it is in our hands to make our world better for the next generation,” and that young people like her have a responsibility to create opportunity for children attending high-need schools.
“Everyone has the potential to make an impact and create ripples,” Crismerly says. “I proudly serve with City Year San José/Silicon Valley because as a product of the communities we work in, I know first-hand the lasting effect good role models can have. I serve because all students, no matter what they look like or where they come from, should receive the same quality of education.”
Read more about what inspired Crismerly to give a year in service to her community in San José.
Remember that representation matters.
“I serve to remind our students that they are beautiful even though society does not make them believe so. I serve to guide them to understand themselves and to build confidence one step at a time. I serve to be a strong woman who generated kindness throughout campus, within the community and to set an example of what being a proud AmeriCorps member is,” says Brittany Hernandez serving at a Clyde L. Fischer Middle School.
AmeriCorps member Kendra Alaniz also believes that representation is an important aspect of City Year service. “I believe all students should have an opportunity to discover and pursue passions regardless of race, gender or where they’re from,” says Kendra. “I serve for all the brown kids that got weird stares for wanting to play the violin, the girls that were told to play inside instead of learning how to fix engines and the kids from communities who were told they would never make it. I serve as an example that with the right support, every student can be successful.”
Ready to fight for student success and educational equity in Silicon Valley?