Sean (right) is a proud AmeriCorps member serving on the CSX Team at Northwestern Middle School. If you like Sean's story, follow him on Twitter @seanmillerpkp91
What were you doing before City Year?
"Before City Year, I went to the University of Wyoming in Laramie where I studied Gender and Women's Studies with a minor in Disability Studies. During college, I was involved with Greek Life (Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Order of Omega National Greek Leadership Honorary), Social Justice organizations, and working part time at the University computer labs. During my senior year, I had the opportunity to do a internship at the University of Wyoming Laboratory School where I was in a 4th/5th grade blended classroom. This was my first exposure working with young students. I was immediately hooked!"
Why did you choose to serve?
"I chose to serve because service is part of who I am. I do not serve for the accolades or the achievements. I was always the person that cared for others. I chose to serve because I know what is like to not have a positive male role model, and what the effects are. Now more than ever, my male students need a consistent role model in their lives.
Mentorship is the key to success. I truly believe in that. I chose to serve for a second year as a Team Leader because I could not leave my students or the community that I grew to love."
How have you been challenged?
"City Year has challenged the way I think and see the world especially with regards to our education system. There are many wonderful things happening in education! Growing up in a small town in Wyoming, I know what it was like to not have enough resources, but currently we have tons of teachers and community resources that can help our students succeed. However, there are many structures that could be better for our students."
City Year culture is a big part of your service year. What was your favorite culture piece. Why?
"Putting Idealism into Work (PITWs). There are days that some of the PITWs fit perfectly in your day (professionally or personally), and there are days that I read them and try to see how they incorporate in my service year. They are definitely insightful and practical!"
How have you been personally impacted?
"City Year definitely pushes your limits. Sure there are days that it is hard, and then you have days that you wish could happen all the time. This experience for the past two years has personally impacted the way I see how my students learn. There is no cookie cutter formula and the students will definitely tell you that."
How do you know you've made an impact?
"I know I impacted JAX when parents know me and thank me for all the hard work I have done. I see my impact when former students who now attend feeder high schools tell me how much they miss me or how I impacted their lives. The true definition for me on how I impacted my students is seeing how much growth my students have made not only in the classroom but in their overall demeanor and attitude."
If happiness was the national currency, what kind of job would make you rich?
"Being an educator. Nothing is more joyful than watching students think about complex problems or even figuring out a certain situation. I enjoy watching students unlock their potential and really getting to see them grow throughout the year."