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City Year Corps Member of the Month - December 2017: Lexi DiBella

School Serving: Arbuckle Elementary-Adelante II Dual Language Academy, San Jose

Hometown: Rocklin, CA

What made you decide to join City Year?

I worked as a peer counselor with high school freshmen on their academic and social/emotional growth. I will never forget working with one particular student who was on the road to dropping out of high school. I met with him every day for one school year and saw tiny victories every day that made all the difference. All he needed was someone who would fight for him, encourage him, and help him see how bright his future was. I knew that I wanted to be an advocate for more students like him and play a role in ensuring that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, could be their absolute best selves. Aligning with many of my goals, City Year was the perfect opportunity to help students find their own small victories and hopefully one day create a greater victory for our nation's education system and the power it has to create champions from our youth. 

Why are you committed to serving with City Year?

City Year's dedication to closing the achievement gap and fighting for every student's right to education consistently drives me to put all I have into my students. Inspired by the many students I serve, I am committed to doing all that I can to help them get closer and closer to their goal of graduation. City Year has allowed me a chance to make better happen for students in underserved communities, and for that I am very grateful.  

How do you know you are making a difference?

It may sound cliché, but I know that even just making a difference in one student's life has made this experience worth all the hard work. I know that I am making an impact here by the little moments I take away with my students every day such as walking into class and having my students run up to hug me, or seeing my students not give up on their reading prompts, or having a student tell me that they practiced using kind words when they were upset. These little moments will stay with me forever, and I hope that my students continue to grow as leaders on their campus and in their community. 

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

I know that simply being there for my students and supporting them makes all the difference in their day. In the same way, having Bain Capital's support and encouragement makes each day of service stronger. I know that what we do for our students— providing a safe after school space, creating a curriculum rooted in Science and Technology, and having resources available— is all possible because of the support from Bain Capital. Knowing that we have Bain Capital on our side empowers us to serve with gratitude and the idea that every day is a day closer to changing the lives of many students.  

Please share a Starfish Story.

On my first day of service, I remember walking into my classroom and seeing one particular student sitting back in his chair and making paper airplanes. As the class progressed, I noticed that he had so much he always wanted to say but he had a difficult time communicating since he never raised his hand and would try to talk over the teacher or his friends which would get him in trouble. I watched him slowly get more and more discouraged as the school year went on, so one day I asked if he would like to come write with me. I went and bought him his own journal and when I handed him the journal I watched his eyes light up. For that season of the school year, he would come in multiple times a week during his recess and write in his journal. Watching him get excited to come write and look forward to this time of the day was one of the most rewarding things in my week. Eventually, I saw his behavior in class change as well as his spirits. Instead of interrupting the teacher or getting mad when he was told to lower his voice, he began to get his journal out and write little things throughout his day and come and share them with me. Now, he has decided that he wants to be a baseball player and a writer.