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School Serving: Central High School, Providence, RI
Hometown: San Diego, CA
What made you decide to join City Year?
I decided to join City Year because one of the greatest advantages I've had in life is a supportive family as well as dedicated teachers and mentors. Serving with City Year allows me to grow as a leader and mentor and hopefully, support students in a way that makes a difference.
Why are you committed to serving with City Year?
I am committed to serving with City Year because I believe in empowering youth through education. Encouraging students to claim their power as a generation that can dismantle systemic oppression in our country is vital to enacting real change for the future.
How do you know you are making a difference?
I know I am making a difference because of how much I am learning from my students. As students choose to open up and share struggles, successes, and personal goals, I learn how to best support them in both their academic and personal growth.
Please share a learning experience.
Serving as a queer person of color comes with daily challenges. During a point in the year in which I was particularly emotionally and mentally exhausted, a student called me over. I was prepared to help her with the current assignment, but instead was pleasantly surprised when she prompted me to take a seat and asked me if I was okay. I told her that I was doing better and that just the act of her asking made a real difference in my day. Over the next hour while we worked on her assignment, she continued to impart her wisdom by sharing details about her life, resulting personal philosophies, and encouragement and appreciation for leading with my authentic self in the class. This genuine act of kindness and consideration not only changed my day but changed and solidified my perspective on why I serve and who I am serving.
There is no such thing as a bad kid. There are only good kids doing their best to do good while dealing with the fallout of a country that has failed them and continues to fail them in providing an education they deserve.
What's next for you after City Year?
I will continue to serve in non-profit and support youth in my community. That may mean serving as a second-year corps member in a team leader or service leader position if I am selected. It could also mean taking a position at a local organization that serves queer youth of color. In any case, City Year has provided skills and support in beginning a life of service and leadership.