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City Year Corps Member of the Month: April 2019: Zabrina Ramirez

Name: Zabrina Ramirez

School serving: Blackstone Innovation School, Boston

Hometown: Rockford, IL

What made you decide to join City Year?

I decided to join City Year when I saw how invested the team is in understanding that children are whole people. Children are affected by many external factors, such as their education, communities, laws, history, health, and current events. I saw that City Year prioritized this intersectionality. This matched up with my passion for collaborating with others to improve social systems. Education is one social system that deserves to be nurtured to better provide for the students it serves. City Year is one of the groups dedicated to this issue, and I took the leap and decided to join them.

Why are you committed to serving with City Year?

I am committed to serving with City Year because just like in many situations, people collaborating and striving for the same goal can do so much more than on their own. I love working with my students, my team, and learning from people in City Year. I also am committed to serving with City Year because I have seen how much I have learned in just a short amount of time and have experienced much personal growth. As a Corps Member, I have practiced patience, humility, and quick-thinking. I have seen my students grow as well and I could not imagine not serving with City Year. ​

How do you know you are making a difference?

I know that I am making a difference when I see that I am not alone in this endeavor. I have the team I serve on, City Year Boston, and the larger City Year network. We are able to share with one another the challenges that we face and how we work through them to reach success. Individually, I know that I am making a difference when I see how much the students I work with have grown from the beginning of the year. When school started, there were many students that struggled with expressing their opinions and feelings. They felt so much and did not have a healthy way of sharing that with other students, their teacher, or me. Through building relationships with the students and their own perseverance, they have been able to decipher the challenges they face and communicate what they need to push through them. For some students, that means taking a mindfulness break and for others that means having a conversation with me about how to solve an issue. Together we have made goals and it's amazing to see their improvements so far. 

What does it mean to you to have Bain Capital sponsor your team?

Having Bain Capital sponsor my team means that I am able to see the progress of my students because of the work that I am able to do in my role every day. Knowing that I have the extra support of a great team sponsor reminds me that I am not only appreciated, but also working for a cause bigger than myself. It is also a reminder that like-minded folks like those of Bain Capital are continuously striving to put idealism to work. 

Please share a Starfish Story.

If I look back at the beginning of the school year, I remember distinctly how one my students would have challenging days, every day. Though she is intelligent and hilarious she had a hard time staying awake in class, handling tough situations and her anger, and working well with others. Every day I would make sure to check in with her and see how she was doing. I often was the first person she would see after a challenging event or argument with another student. She didn't always want to talk with me and most times she was too upset to talk. Over time, we have gotten to the point where now she doesn't even need me to work through whatever it is that upset her. She has worked so hard to learn to express how she's feeling and to manage her emotions and actions in healthy ways. One of the best moments we have had was when she was able to list out all of her goals and accomplishments from the beginning of the year and reflect on how far she has come. ​