I wouldn’t say the school year is in full swing yet but it’s definitely on its way there! Each AmeriCorps member at every site has been placed with a partner teacher and academic content area. Last year, I served as a first year Team Leader at South High School and served three grade levels in math. This year, I am serving as a Team Leader again, but this time at Livingston Elementary with a team of: eight first year corps members, second year corps member Bri Sinden, and our beloved Impact Manager Taylor Trejo.
My transition from middle/high school to the elementary level, although not hard, has been tougher than expected. Your positive spirit must really influence every interaction you have with students because they feed off that energy. I’ve had to switch from upbeat morning greeting chants at South to breakfast duty at Livingston, which has allotted me time to try and connect with students K-6 that I don’t get to interact with much as I’m not supporting in a classroom here. Now, I find myself getting joys out of kids asking for help opening milk cartons, referring to themselves as a new superhero every day, or calming a student’s nerves because of a spider they saw under their bed while getting ready at home.
This year’s corps is very strong, and to assist us in life after City Year the staff has been extremely intentional about utilizing existing partnerships and forming new ones. I am excited to inform you all that each and every corps member will be matched with a personal mentor for the rest of the school year! These volunteer mentors will be coming from Nationwide, LBrands, Deloitte, Huntington, Bank of America, NiSource, and other local companies to provide personalized professional development to their mentee within the corps. As a participant in last year’s mentor pilot program with Deloitte, I can definitely attest to the benefit of having an established professional mentor dedicated to helping me through these early stages of my career journey. As a second year, I hope to utilize that resource even more, as this is my last go around as a corps member. The networking and planning sessions are self-guided and will only go as far as I push them and I really do feel a sense of urgency.
As of now, like many other corps members, I’m beginning to find a routine, remembering students and staff names, planning afterschool activities, and thinking about what kind of legacy I want to leave City Year Columbus and my school. Until then, catch me supporting the Southside and Columbus City Schools under the Friday night lights for football season!
Alfonso Gillette IV
Team Leader, Livingston Elementary