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Continuing with Service Beyond City Year!

In honor of AmeriCorps month, we caught up with 6 of our alumni who have continued with national service beyond serving with City Year! Read about the experiences and skills they’ve gained through serving with City Year and AmeriCorps and how their experience has shaped their plans for the future!

Abby Cozzolino ’19, ’20

After my two years as a City Year Corps member, I felt that my work wasn’t quite done yet so I stayed for one more year to serve as a Catholic Charities AmeriCorps VISTA on City Year’s Impact team. I am the Corps and Student Support Impact VISTA and help on a variety of projects including creating and updating resources for the virtual space and leading on peer support groups for the Corps members. Last year when COVID hit, I was worried about the Manchester students adjusting to this new virtual learning space, as well as how Corps members would get the full City Year experience virtually. That inspired me to continue my national service journey as a VISTA. My City Year experience has helped me use the leadership skills I developed in a new way and come up with creative solutions for taking historically in-person activities and making them virtual. I am able to use my experiences as a Corps member to support this year’s amazing Corps and, by proxy, the Manchester students.

Anna Trammell ’20

After serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member at Wilson Elementary School last year, I am now serving my third AmeriCorps term as a student mentor at Kreiva Academy. I mentor a group of middle schoolers, as well as serve as a teacher’s assistant for the middle school staff. My first year of service was after I graduated college in 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. I continued to serve through City Year New Hampshire and now at Granite State Service Corps! My three years of national service has primarily been focused on education and I have found that working in education through national service is one of my passions. By serving multiple years I can continually work alongside the community to create avenues of success for a multitude of students. My experience with national service, City Year in particular, has prepared me for this role in that I was able to develop the skills necessary to cultivate an equitable education for my students. My experience with national service has inspired me to search for jobs in the non-profit sector, as well as contemplate becoming a teacher.

Cameron Thompson ’20

Currently, I am serving a second year at City Year New Hampshire as a Service Leader for the McDonough Elementary School team! I felt inspired to serve for another year because of the loving and accepting communities of both City Year and the Manchester school district. During my first year with City Year, I was inspired by the professional and empathetic leadership shown to me by my service leaders and Impact Manager. Through this strong example of leadership, I was able to challenge myself and grow as a leader and am now able to pay forward the same empathy and resolve to learn to my current team. My two years of serving with AmeriCorps and City Year has helped me explore and ultimately confirm my desire to become a teacher, shifting my perspective from one of positive affinity to absolute passion for this meaningful and life-long work.

Elaine Lunsford ’19, ’20

After serving as a first-year AmeriCorps member in 2019, I decided to come back to serve as a Development VISTA at City Year New Hampshire to learn more about all the work that goes on behind the scenes at a non-profit and to think about service in a new way. Before serving with AmeriCorps, I never could have anticipated how much my experiences with national service would impact me. My time at City Year serving in the classroom and now serving with the Development Team leading on marketing and communication and helping generate resources for City Year’s work has confirmed in me a desire to do mission-driven work, and has also broadened my perspective on the different ways I can bring my specific skillsets to the non-profit sector. Beyond that, I have loved getting to serve and learn from my fellow national service members, and I’m grateful for the range of opportunities I have had through AmeriCorps that have helped me grow in confidence as a leader and equipped me with the skills and passion to enact positive change in whatever communities I am part of in the future!

Nicole Dutka ’20

I served as a first-year AmeriCorps member with City Year last year and am now the Volunteer Engagement VISTA at the New Hampshire Food Bank. My main role is to support our Volunteer Coordinator in recruiting and managing volunteers, as well as building the capacity of our volunteer program. Our volunteers are essential in the fight against hunger in New Hampshire. When I was serving at City Year, I always considered serving a second year. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and schools closed I felt like I still owed something to my students, their families, and this community. At City Year I formed roots in Manchester, and experienced both its beauty and its systemic issues and I wanted to continue my service to this city in a different way. My passion for this community makes my hard days easier, and my easy days incredible. This year I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve been covered in frozen meat juice, but I’m hoping to stay on at the food bank (or a related nonprofit!) after my service.

Nicole Nover ’19, ’20

I am currently working at Parkside Middle School with GEAR UP Manchester as one of their AmeriCorps VISTAs. I spent two years with City Year New Hampshire and when my second service year was ending in the middle of a pandemic, I wasn’t ready to move on from the Manchester community. I heard about GEAR UP and am lucky enough to be serving at the same school I was at with City Year! A lot of City Year and GEAR UP’s values and goals align, so it has been great to continue my work with a new lens. City Year provided me with a lot of hands-on work with students and I am able to take that knowledge and apply it to the behind-the-scenes programming I do at GEAR UP. Both organizations have helped me figure out my strengths as a leader and the values and passions I want to incorporate in my life. Beyond this service year I plan to work in the non-profit sector and I look forward to continuing to build on the skills that City Year and GEAR UP have taught me!

Niki Navarro ’19, ’20

I am an AmeriCorps VISTA working with GEAR UP Manchester and my host site is Hillside Middle School! I love that AmeriCorps allows you to learn more about your community and the different careers that encompass the community. There is a lot of individuality that goes into projects and a fail is never really a fail because you just keep learning. After serving with City Year as a first-year AmeriCorps member and then as a Service Leader, I knew I wanted to stay in the education sector but I was not 100% in what capacity I wanted to be, so I continued with AmeriCorps to try a more indirect role. My two years with City Year helped prepare me for this new role immensely. It has helped me gain student perspective which has been awesome when it comes to programming and planning activities to post in our Google Classroom. The experiences that I have cultivated from almost 3 years of national service are priceless to me. Though there were both good days and bad, my experiences have helped shape in me a very strong sense of self and dedication to students and education and I am so thankful for the perspectives I have gained through all of my AmeriCorps experiences. Now that I know my passion lies in the classroom, I will be attending Boston College this summer for a Masters in Education (M.Ed) in the Donovan Urban Scholars program. I am excited to start my next journey and take everything that I have learned along with me!

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