By Yessica Garcia, City Year AmeriCorps Member, Serving at Beech Street Elementary School, 
Co-Sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim and Riverstone

As City Year corps members, we strive to empower the students we serve, so they can reach their highest potential. Beech Street school offers many after school opportunities for students to reach that potential. Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) is an afterschool program through the Granite YMCA that partners with Beech Street School to provide, health and wellness, academic support and enrichment activities. The Beech Street team provides academic support during the Y.O.U. program, providing thirty minutes of tutoring: English Language Arts, Math, and Science.

By providing the extra support in the afterschool space, Y.O.U. focuses on improving the educational readiness, engagement, and outcomes for the country’s children. The goal of the program is to increase student achievement and reducing potential harmful or dangerous behaviors through a balanced program. The curriculum is designed to support the academic and physical development through a variety of components: snack, health and wellness, academic support (homework help and tutoring), Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, global learning, learning, and enrichment. The program runs, during the academic school year, for about 3 hours every day, five days a week.

As Corps Members we create lesson plans, and ensure that the lessons meet the students’ needs. Unlike our regular school day working with third through fifth grade, when we work with Y.O.U. students, we are able to target students as early as kindergarten. Each Corps Member has three 30 minute group rotations within one day. Helping Y.O.U. has been a really great experience because we are able to support the students we serve in our classrooms, as well as students in other grades. Seeing the Y.O.U. staff and the Corp Members come together to work as one is really humbling. We are there to support the children.

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