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Diversity, leadership and community: reflections of an HBCU alum

If you speak with an HBCU alum about their experience, you’ll quickly learn that service to the community is one of the hallmarks of HBCU campus culture. So, it’s no surprise that many HBCU graduates apply to serve with City Year as AmeriCorps members after they graduate with their degrees. This year alone, 49 HBCUs are represented amongst the currently serving corps—coming from nearly fifty percent of the 100 historically Black colleges and universities in the country!

In a series of interviews, we talked with currently serving corps members and HBCU graduates about how their education at historically Black institutions has informed their decision to serve with City Year.

Read on to learn more from Alexsia Henderson, a Hampton University graduate currently serving with City Year Philadelphia:

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Alexsia Henderson and I recently graduated in 2023 majoring in communications with a minor in management from the illustrious Hampton University, in Hampton, Virginia. I am currently serving City Year Philadelphia as a first-year corps member.

How did your HBCU experience prepare you for service?

During my time at the university, I learned and enhanced my knowledge of diversity, leadership, and the importance of community. These tools have prepared me to translate my knowledge into the classroom, encouraging students to grow and develop as individuals every day!

What advice would you give for an HBCU student or alum considering City Year?

As a HBCU student considering City Year, continue opening your mind to different ideas and people because every interaction can be impactful.

Why do you think more HBCU Alums should serve with City Year?

More HBCU alums should serve with City Year due to the diverse culture demonstrated within the universities. While serving, individuals will be able to connect with children to encourage them to give back to their community while raising awareness for minorities to further their education.

What did your students know about HBCU’s before they met you?

While my students were aware of HBCU’s they were not aware of the culture involved.

To all my HBCU students remember: we are tomorrow, we are the future, but it starts with first embracing yourself, giving back to one another, and fighting to make a change!

Learn more about serving with City Year!

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