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Meet Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship Winner, Clark Shimeall

City Year Boston offers a robust community-based experience that encourages you to grow professionally and personally. We offer many different resources to support our AmeriCorps members in their plans beyond their year of service. We call it their Life After City Year, or LACY, plan. There are many scholarships exclusive to City Year alums to assist with their pursuits of an undergraduate and/or graduate degree. Not only that but some of the organizations we partner with also offer scholarships that you can use toward non-academic professional endeavors.

Taco Bell Foundation logo
The Live Más Scholarship, offered by the Taco Bell Foundation, is one of those scholarships. Since 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation has reached more than four million young people across the country and has awarded more than $95 million in grants and scholarships focused on education and career readiness.

The latest recipient of this award was our very own alum Clark Shimeall. Clark served an eighth-grade classroom at John W. McCormack Middle School and returned the following year to be a part of Team Care Force. Get to know Clark and a little more about his journey with City Year and beyond!

Clark’s service journey with City Year

City Year Boston: What made you decide to give a year of service? Why did you choose the City Year program?

Clark Shimeall: I came from a middle-class community and did well in high school, but I was dealing with a strong pressure to attend college. At the time, going to college wasn’t the right path for me. I was frustrated with what I perceived as the insulated nature of higher education and felt a strong desire to give back. I knew that an extended period of service would improve the likelihood that I’d be useful, not an intrusive drain on local resources. City Year stood out in this regard, especially in its focus on effective, evaluated impact. Furthermore, many other service-based organizations with similar models (Vista, Teach For America, Peace Corps, etc.) required a college degree. I thought it was admirable that City Year was open to folks on all different paths in life.

CYB: What made you decide to return as a member of Team Care Force?

CS: I didn’t start with City Year in June like most AmeriCorps. I entered mid-year, and when the year of service ended, I felt like my journey with City Year just wasn’t over yet. Team Care Force represented an opportunity to merge my passions for community service with my interests in physical engagement, place-making and environmental work. It also gave me the opportunity to travel around the country throughout the year. Working in different places was very exciting because it allowed me to interact with a variety of different community stakeholders and sponsor organizations. To this day, I still keep in touch with some of the teachers and administrators I met in different cities around the country.

Clark’s transformative relationship with the Taco Bell Foundation

CYB: How did you hear about the Live Más Scholarship?

CS: I heard about it from an internal City Year communication! Taco Bell is a corporate partner of City Year’s, and they advertised the scholarship in an email. I was also able to contact our development team member who managed that relationship (Grace Lehan) and get more information.

Clark holds his scholarship check from the Taco Bell Foundation.

CYB: How did you use the money you earned from the scholarship in your future endeavors?

CS: My time with City Year ultimately impressed upon me the importance of higher education. I remember talking to Sandra Lopez Burke, the incredible vice president and executive director of City Year Boston, about “making it” in the professional world without a college degree. 

Her answer left a lasting impression on me. She said that it was possible (she’d done it herself!), but it’d take twice as long and three times as much effort. 

I certainly didn’t join City Year expecting to have my mind changed about higher education, but I’m glad it was – I’ve applied all the scholarship money towards my current college degree, which I’ll be finishing up in the next year. The Live Más Scholarship award, my one-and-a-half years of Segal Education Award money I earned from my years of service and choosing to go to a school where I was eligible for resident tuition allowed me to be fortunate enough to be able to cover nearly all my tuition costs.

CYB: Do you recommend current AmeriCorps members to apply?

CS: I’d highly recommend it! The Live Más scholarship can pay for trade, undergraduate or graduate school or formal skills training. At the end of the day, it’s a two-minute video, and at minimum, the act of applying will help you think about your own story. If you can tie your service into your application, all the better. Our AmeriCorps service is significant, and it’s important that outside observers understand our passion and our impact.

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