"We are pleased to offer you a position as a corps member with City Year Milwaukee." This was the sentence that started my journey with City Year Milwaukee. It is a moment I will remember forever because it was a moment I had waited on for so long. I knew if I was offered the position I was going to take it, because I had the support of my family, friends, professors and everyone I told about my plans after undergrad. I knew I was ready to try something new and in a new city but never expected to end up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This past year has changed me in so many ways. I moved to a new city where I did not know anyone and did not know what to expect from this new journey. City Year has brought me new friends, fun memories, new knowledge, students who love me for being me, and a team and partner teachers who are now my extended family.

I'm happy to share that next year I will be back with City Year Milwaukee as a Second Year Corps Member. I knew that I was not ready for my City Year experience to be over, and I still have so much more work I want to do with students. City Year has taught me that life does not always go as planned, but I look forward to a new adventure next year and for the next phase after that. I believe the next route is graduate school and college admissions because I love developing relationships with young people because their dreams and goals truly inspire me.

Written By: Jasmine Brown, City Year Corps Member Serving in the 8th Grade. Next year, Jasmine will be returning to City Year Milwaukee as a second-year corps member.

This year has been filled with energy, laughter, anger, frustration, potential, inspiration, and hope. Throughout school events, phone calls home, interventions, and whole class support, student relationships have been the most valuable and memorable.

Building a strong rapport with my students has made my life easier as a corps member. Students are less likely to get angry when I redirect them, because they know that I care about them. Moreover, part of building that rapport is learning more about African Americans and the issues they face. I felt that in order to serve my students, who are primarily African Americans, to the best of my ability, I needed to raise the stakes of my service. My students will face obstacles many of us don’t have to because of their skin color. The systems of law, education, employment, and enforcement will judge them someday if they don’t already realize it. 

By raising the stakes, I hope I have inspired my students to take their education seriously, and at the same time, remind myself how important service like mine is to students.

Written By: Lisa Vang, 6th Grade Corps Member. Next year, Lisa will be returning to City Year Milwaukee for a second service year as a Team Leader.

My journey as a mid-year corps member started this past January. As I entered it, I was a former college student who had yet to graduate and just needed some time off. I joined City Year to do something productive with that time off. I wasn't chasing money or looking for a break. I needed time to reflect and find my love for learning once again. I needed to grow and become a disciplined student. Lastly, I wanted to give back to the very same city that I grew up in.

Even though I have only been with City Year for a little over five months, all of those things that I sought to do have been accomplished and more. I don't have the grandiose tales that many of my fellow corps members may have. But I do have stories that make me smile, and those stories are the reasons I continued to come in morning after morning.

One such story is of a student who on my very first day in school asked for my help, and from then on I helped him with math as much as I could. I saw him grow from being apprehensive about math to a confident student who believes he can solve any problem I present him with, no matter the complexity.

As I alluded to above, I did join City Year for my own personal gain as well. I've rediscovered a love and interest in learning. I'm happy to say that I will be returning to school to finish my degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Legal Studies. I am returning to school with the best mindset I have ever had. Through my service, I have grown so much as a person - professionally, personally and academically.

As the year comes to a close, and I take my departure from Rufus King, I would hope that my students learned a lot from me. I can take solace in the fact that I learned more from them than I could have ever imagined. As we grow older, we forget how it feels to be a child. I lost my childhood love for learning. However, thanks to a few months working with some amazing young people in a 7th grade classroom, I am ready to be a better student than I have ever been.

Written By: Jabbar Muhammad, 7th Grade Corps Member. Next year, Jabbar will be returning to UW-Milwaukee to study Political Science.

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