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03.1.19

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City Year Corps Member of the Month - March 2019: Emma Dunlop

I joined City Year because I have an inner fire to make change and work directly with young people. I knew I could begin my journey to do just that at City Year.

Name: Emma Dunlop

School Serving: Central High School in Providence, RI

Hometown: Noblesville, IN

What made you decide to join City Year?

I joined City Year because I have an inner fire to make change and work directly with young people. I knew I could begin my journey to do just that at City Year.

Why are you committed to serving with City Year?

My kids. I know that each day I show up, my students take a breath knowing I'll be there. If I'm absent, they ask after me. Fourteen-year-old boys tell me they miss me! How could I not commit to a connection like that? My students make this work all worth it, even when it feels like I may just be a Band-Aid.

How do you know you are making a difference?

Not to repeat myself but, my students. Being a ninth grader is hard enough. Add that to learning in a school with social and racial inequality and within our current education climate, that makes it even tougher. I know I make a difference when they admit that sometimes school isn't so bad; when a student who would drop his pencil at the most minor frustration picks it up again; when I hear my name "Miss!!!" called down a hallway so that I can be updated with the latest gossip. Students need educators, but they also need supporters.

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

Through Bain Capital, we have been given the opportunity to provide multiple events for our students. The many opportunities Bain Capital has given us makes it possible to do our jobs.

Please share a Starfish Story.

My City Year began a little differently than most. About two months into the school year I changed partner teachers and no longer worked with any of my previous students, at least not in the classroom setting. To this day, my students find ways to reconnect, whether it is through playful jabs or elated calls down the hallway, "Miss!!! We miss you!! Come to my game after school!" One student in particular reaches out. At the beginning of the year, the student had an intense conviction that our school was a good learning environment, one that deserves respect because she respects her education. I certainly did not teach her that, but she sometimes needs to be reminded of her idealism, just as I do.

This student proves to me that I am affecting lives in some way. When school becomes frustrating, or she feels dismissed by teachers, she comes to me to tell her story and to gain a little perspective. I repeat her own words at the beginning of the year: her education matters. She matters, and she knows this, but sometimes, she needs to be reminded. Together, we've tackled papers and friend drama, girl trouble and issues of identity. When she seeks me out and hugs me, calls "Miss!" from across the parking lot, when she complains about class, maintaining her conviction for a strong education, the education she deserves—I know I have done my job.