We kickoff the new year with an inspiring story about an AmeriCorps member who is giving back to her community by contributing a second year of service in her alma mater, Carver Middle School. We sat down with the South Central LA native to talk about her passion for education and what it means to give back to her community.
What inspired you to serve for a second year?
My kids. I experienced so much personal growth during my first year that when I look back at who I was, and who I am today, I am left in disbelief. I never thought that a bunch of sassy, funny, vibrant young scholars would make such a huge impact on my life. They decided my life course—they made it easy for me.
Why do you think it’s valuable for students to have role models who come from their own communities or similar backgrounds?
By being part of their community or background, you understand the struggle and therefore the student will see you as a reflection of them and will trust and welcome you into their personal lives. When my kids hear me speak Spanish they go wild and get super excited. It's such a basic connection, but it creates a huge difference in the way they perceive you. After that, they just don't want to stop talking to you. I can see their eyes light up and their smiles slowly forming at the tailend of my Spanish sentence. It's all about finding common threads. They see themselves in me: a Spanish speaker, Carver Middle School alum, South Central resident, and Latina.
How do you feel about serving in the same school you attended?
I feel that my presence will have a greater impact on my students because they will have a success story from their community in front of them every day. Through my example, they will know that if I could do it, they can do it too. They will have my unvaivering support to dream big and not let anyone tell them it's not possible. Nothing is impossible. As the saying goes...where there's a will there's a way.