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Over the past 15 years, Bain Capital has sponsored teams of AmeriCorps members, helping develop and support more than 200 young idealist giving a year of service. For the 2016-2017 school year, the firm has extended that commitment to sponsor teams of corps members serving in Boston, London, New York, Providence and San Jose/Silicon Valley. The corps members are inspiring and a great way to get to the heart of what makes City Year great.
Name: Crismerly Santibañez
Hometown: San Lucas Michoácan, México
School Serving: Clyde Arbuckle Elementary and Adelante II Dual Language Academy in San Jose
What made you decide to join City Year?
I joined City Year because I am the students I serve. I grew up in a community very similar to east side San José, and I know first-hand the challenges that come from growing up in an area that is systematically disenfranchised. I want to show students who look like me that despite the obstacles placed in our path, people of color can thrive in a system that often keeps us down. I see myself in the students I work with, and they are what motivate me to serve every single day.
Why are you committed to serving with City Year?
City Year likes to say "it takes a village." I recognize that I alone can't change a system, and that is why I'm committed to serving with City Year.
How do you know you are making a difference?
The little everyday things that add up to surprise me are how I know I'm making a difference. Sometimes it's a student choosing to read more, asking for my advice, opening up to me about personal things, giving me hugs or doing everything possible to exceed my expectations. It's been gratifying to see students' behaviors change for the better throughout the year.
What does it mean to you to have Bain Capital sponsor your team?
Bain Capital's sponsorship is what allows my school team to run the after-school program. The after school-program is vital for the community because it's a free and safe place for parents to send their kids after school. The after-school program fills time that students might otherwise use for less productive activities. In addition, the program provides students with a STEAM curriculum that they would otherwise not receive in the normal school day.
Please share a Starfish Story.
I work predominantly with fourth and fifth grade students, but I've been fortunate to reach students in all grade levels. More specifically, I've gotten really close with a third grade boy named Cesar. He calls me his "tia" (aunt). He's not interested in stereotypical boy activities. He likes to design his own dresses, play with Barbies and style hair. I encourage, validate and affirm his hobbies. I let him know that what he likes to do is normal and that boys can do and like whatever they want. I know that he appreciates the validation I give him because of how close we have become. He sees me as more than a teacher, he considers me part of his family.