Kyle Walcott is a ’14 City Year Washington, D.C. alumnus. Prior to serving, Kyle attended Georgia State University, where he earned a BBA in Marketing. Currently, he works as a Scholar Relations Coordinator for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a scholarship administered by the United Negro College Fund in partnership with the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars, Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, and Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Where did you serve and what was the most rewarding experience during your year of service?
I proudly served as a Corps Member with the Microsoft Diplomas Now Team at Francis. L Cardozo Education Campus! “Dozo” [as it’s affectionately called] was the only site in Northwest, Washington, D.C. where City Year AmeriCorps members served. The school was in its first year of educating both middle school and high school students. Along with our Program Manager and two Team Leaders, eight of my teammates served the high school students while four of us, including myself, served the middle school students.
As is the case with an experience like City Year, there were trials and tribulations that I had to face. However, the most rewarding experience were the valuable relationships I was able to build with my students in a short period of time. Many of our students had unique ways of showing their appreciation for us and the aspects that made the experience worthwhile was knowing that I could make my students smile, be more confident, and know that someone believes in them.
How did you become interested in City Year? What led you to apply?
I have always believed that you must serve others in order to enjoy a fulfilling life. At an early age, my mother instilled the importance of education to me which resulted in my desire to spread the same message to the generations after me. During my sophomore year of college, I was introduced to AmeriCorps as I served as a corps member with Jumpstart, where my teammates and I taught intensive lesson plans to Pre-K students in order to bolster their language and literacy skills needed for kindergarten.
In conjunction with two internships I held with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Communities in Schools of Georgia, my passion to commit myself to serving in the field of education after graduation increased. I found City Year’s website after my fraternity brother e-mailed me about service opportunities for college graduates like myself. Once I did my research on City Year’s mission and goals for our underserved communities, I knew serving with an organization sharing similar beliefs as mine was meant to be my next step.
After your service year, you went to work for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. What do you do there and what do you enjoy most about your role?
I have been in my role with our Leadership Development Programs team since September 2014 and have grown to acquire new skills and observations regarding the non-profit industry. My main responsibility is to manage our Campus-Based Leadership initiative and other aspects of mentoring provided by our organization. [...] The most enjoyable element of my role is getting to meet and interact with minority Scholars. There is no bigger reward than getting to hear the inspiring stories and ambitions our Scholars have and realizing that I can play a part in assisting them academically, socially and professionally.
In what ways has City Year helped prepare you for your career?
City Year has truly allowed me to see that there is no professional setting in which I cannot succeed. The atmosphere at schools is one that requires corps members to be relentless, persistent, and unwavering. By working with teammates from different states and of various backgrounds, I discovered more of what it means to be cut from a different cloth but to share the same dreams of a brighter education for our students. I learned how to find the strengths that individuals possess and utilize them for the betterment of the group and students we serve.
Also, struggling with statistical goals implemented for corps members taught me how to acknowledge my need for help--which had previously been an action I would avoid.
The opportunities provided to me to speak to donors and external organizations at various engagements increased my self-confidence when promoting a change agent such as City Year. If I had not joined City Year, I would not have relocated to a promising city like Washington, D.C. and would not have made the connections necessary to be where I am now.
What advice would you give to a young person considering joining City Year?
City Year not only shows you how to change the lives of those after you, but also how to change within yourself. I could not place a price tag on the intangibles I learned by living on a stipend, managing my time better, and thinking outside of the box in order to achieve the goals we placed for ourselves and our students.
Joining City Year can take you to a new location where you are able to spread your wings in order to gain more responsibility as an adult and servant to the world.