be_ixf;ym_202407 d_17; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

My first month as a mid-year AmeriCorps member

I started my time at City Year Jacksonville eager and ready to serve! Training was great; I liked having the opportunity to get acquainted with the City Year culture. I enjoyed being at the office and getting to know our awesome senior corps and staff.

I really wanted to work in a high school, so when I was told I was going to be a member of the William M. Raines High School team, I was ecstatic! The first week, I was immediately embraced into the family. Shout out to my amazing team and our Impact Manager, Lisa, for making me feel so welcomed! I literally couldn’t have asked for a better team to be a part of.

I will admit, though, I was apprehensive about what to expect in my classroom at first. I got the impression that my teacher and I had very different personalities. Yet, I still wanted to go in with an open and optimistic mindset.

Fast forward three weeks, my teacher and I have built a great relationship! We both communicate clearly and try to consider and to accommodate each other as best we can. Though we do have rather different personalities, I think they complement each other in the classroom. He is extremely supportive and I am excited for our relationship to grow even more.

The best part of City Year is the students. They all have very dynamic personalities. I genuinely see so much potential in these kids, but they are definitely products of their circumstances. One eye-opening moment for me was when I was asking students to write a goal of theirs and a lot of them said to pass the ninth grade. That alone spoke volumes to me. Also, I noticed right away that many of these students severely lack motivation. We all know that it doesn’t matter how smart or talented someone is if they don’t work hard, they won’t come out on top.

These observations inspired my theme in the classroom: “think big, dream big, work hard.” Every time I pull small groups, I have them recite, “My name is . . . and I’m going to think big, dream big and work hard.” I’ve already had one-on-one conversations with almost every one of my students to see where their head is at and how I can help them achieve their goals. My overall mission is to help encourage them to believe they can do anything through hard work. I can’t wait to be more of a resource and mentor for them throughout the remainder of the school year.

It’s safe to say my experience in City Year so far has been great. I genuinely love what I’m doing right now and I’m excited for what is to come in the remainder of the year!

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