By Drew Wilcox, AmeriCorps member serving on the Comcast | NBCUniversal team with Jeremiah E. Burke High School

Steve Yacovelli is a first year AmeriCorps member serving at Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester. He grew up in a town outside of Philadelphia and graduated from Penn State in May, 2015. Steve is currently applying to go to medical school and loves sports and music. Yacovelli is also responsible for creating the themed pumpkin featured in the header photo for this article.

Why did you choose to do City Year?

I had the expectation that I was going to take a gap year between my undergraduate education and medical school. I wanted to do something unique, something that wasn’t going to be available to me after medical school. My brother had done a different AmeriCorps program, Teach for America, and I felt like if I had this short amount of time during a gap year that I would want to do something similar that would make a difference and give back to the community. When I found City Year, I felt like the organization was a great fit for me. I enjoyed how my role at City Year would allow me to be a role model for students. Role models have made a big difference in my life.

What would you like to accomplish during your City Year?

I want to instill in my students that they can be great. I want them to believe in themselves and I want to build up their confidence. While I of course want to help them improve their grades, I also feel like high school is a crucial time period in a student’s life when they need to learn how to advocate for themselves and to recognize and understand when they need to seek help from a teacher or guidance counselor.

Additionally, I feel it is important for me to build relationships with people from different socioeconomic backgrounds from my own. I think this is important for anyone to do.  I felt it was especially important for me because, in my opinion, the medical field in the U.S. has very good care for those who can afford it, but sometimes those who struggle to afford it don’t receive the proper care. This is where most of the deaths and untreated illnesses occur, so since I hope to go into the medical field, I felt it was important to gain the perspective of those who might not be able to afford healthcare. If my medical career involves working with an underserved community, I believe that I will be able to make a bigger difference.

Is there anything else about your service that you’d like to mention?

I wasn’t expecting my City Year experience to be as focused on community as it has been, and it has had a very positive impact on me. I feel like I am a part of something larger, making a real impact in Burke High School. The teachers are very friendly, and we share a goal of providing the best education and growth that we can for our students.


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