Inside California Education: City Year AmeriCorps


♪♪ We live to
serve another day. Students: And that’s
a beautiful thing. Rob: For these students,
each school day begins with a welcoming cheer designed
to inspire the spirit and ignite their enthusiasm. You’ll find it at seven
Sacramento City schools targeted for
educational intervention. Mentors: Good morning! Open Hearts! Mentors: Good morning! Open minds. Mentors: Good morning! And a positive
can of energy. Mentors: Good morning! Alright, team on one. Mentors: One team woo haa! Rob: The team is a group
of mentors with City Year Sacramento,
part of the national service organization AmeriCorps. Fresh out of college, these
mentors join students and teachers to bring hands-on
help into classrooms at more than 50 schools state-wide. There’s a particular
focus on Los Angeles, San Jose and Sacramento. In total, the program
supports more than 21,000 students across
the Golden State. And it’s all about
connecting with kids. Jamiah: I see
myself in these kids. This is corps
member Jamiah King, serving at Rosa Parks
Elementary School in Sacramento. Mentors: Rosa Parks pride! Woo ha! Rob: Ten hours a
day, 5 days a week, she focuses on each student
with extra help with reading and writing. But you quickly to notice
this is much more than just lessons from a book. Jamiah: Students that may
not feel confident reading out loud because they
feel like they’re dumb. Or they can’t
pronounce that word. I’m like, let’s break it up. The first part, do you
know how to say that? And then? So put it together. I make mistakes
all the time, too. There’s this one word that I
definitely don’t know how to say it, you know, just
like literally helping them through that
and they’re like, “Oh I want to read
now,” and I’m like, “Yes!” Rob: Corps members like
Jamiah are deeply involved with the schools they serve. They’re here before,
during and after school, helping to ease the
burden on the teacher. Mentors help with everything
from behavioral management and attendance to reading
and math intervention circles – anything to
help students thrive. Teachers say City Year
members are more than a mentor. Tascha: I feel like
I have a partner. It’s not just another
adult in the classroom, she’s a partner in
my teaching day. She helps me teach,
she helps me discipline, she helps me take
care of the kids, she helps me all day long. And “helps” isn’t
really the right word, there is a lot of
co-working together. Rob: There are 66 corps
members in Sacramento for a one-year commitment. They are some of the
brightest college graduates in the country, dedicating
a year of their life to service above self. You’ll find corps
members from Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other
prestigious universities, willing to work for a modest
stipend of 1,000 dollars a month. Hajala: City Years have
helped me learn better because if I need help, and
there’s City Years in the classroom, they
can just help me. My City Year in my
classroom is closer to me, so I don’t have to raise my
hand I just like whisper and be like, “City
Year, I need help.” Rob: What does that one on
one attention mean to you? Hajala: It means, like,
it makes me feel special. I know that I have
somebody to talk to. Jamiah: When
they first see you, they don’t think that, you
know you carry yourself a certain way and they think
they know everything about your life. And when you tell
them that, “Wait, I’ve been through
that too,” they’re like, “Whoa, really? You?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I have. And you look up to me. I’m not even where I want
to be yet but just the fact that you look up to me that
lets me know that you can be there too.” Rob: At City Year
Headquarters in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, City
Year leaders meet regularly with Corps Members. City Year was founded in
1988 in Boston and launched in Sacramento in 2012. At this headquarters,
there’s a great deal of focus on
“service above self.” They take a pledge
to honor, respect, provide, lead,
celebrate, serve, and to just “be.” Jeff: What our City Year
AmeriCorps Members do best is they inspire hope and
they influence kids that are living in some really
challenging circumstances to believe again. That they can achieve
whatever it is they want to achieve. They have the right to dream
big and that they can in fact fulfill
their full potential. Rob: City Year says
it’s the whole school, whole child approach. Each day brings a
new set of challenges. Many students bring their
problems into the class, making it hard to graduate,
and for some – even focus. The consequences are real:
students who drop out are eight times more likely
to become incarcerated and three times more
likely to be unemployed. That’s why City Year Corps
members try to create a safe space where learning
grows, one teacher, one child, one
mentor at a time. Tascha: It’s not
even describable, the difference. It’s the difference between
touching emotionally every child in the
class every day, and not. The sun is the star
that is closest to earth. Jeff: It’s the golden rule,
which is helping others. That’s what we all should be
about and what City Year is all about, which is
service to others. Putting others in
front of yourself. Which is if we have the
power and the ability to help others, it’s our
responsibility to do that. Jamiah: Education is
literally what you can give back to the youth. As cliché as people
say, they’re the future, definitely, so I think
we need to give back to education and we need to
bring it to the forefront and why it’s so important
and truly just represent these kids in the
best way possible. ♪♪ Narr: City Year was founded
in 1988 by two Harvard Law
School roommates. Just as students complete
each year of school, the founders believe young
people should also complete a “city
year” of service. Today, City Year is
in 28 cities across the U. S. and has international
affiliates in the UK and South Africa.

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