What made you want to serve as an AmeriCorps member?
I wanted to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member because when I struggled at school, I always had teachers and other supportive people who believed in me and made me feel like I had a potential to be successful, and that is why I persevered. Working on a team with different talents challenges me to approach every situation with creativity and intellect.
How do you build relationships with your students?
At the beginning, it was easier to have a more superficial conversations with students about things we were mutually interested in, like music or sneakers. However, as my relationship with incoming students grew, I found myself having more conversations with my students about the ways they felt. Because my students are high school students, they are beginning to formulate their own identities and opinions. I believe they really appreciate someone who can listen to them, and expose them to new viewpoints and ideas.
What is the best part about being an AmeriCorps Member?
Most of my highlights this year, have been with students who began to succeed on their own, and realizing that they only lack the confidence to complete their assignment, and not the intelligence. I also feel like I play a role in making them feel like they are successful students even when I am not there. Specifically, I was watching one of my math students, who used to need my attention to complete his work, take initiative on his own and only call me when only needed.
What advice would you give incoming AmeriCorps members?
Succeeding as an AmeriCorps member is a combination of being open to new things and also being yourself. Whatever kind of person you are, you’re going to find kids that you connect with at your service site, but at the same time you are going to be exposed to new environments and many new ways of thinking about things. Always be prepared to try them out and be open minded.