YSF – City Year Miami


WHOLE SCHOOL, WHOLE CHILD,
THAT’S APPROACH OF THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION CITY NEAR MIAMI,
SINCE 2008, IT IS, ITS TEAM OF RED JACKET AMERICORPS MEMBERS
HAVE HELPED MORE THAN 200,000 AT RISK STUDENTS IN MIAMI-DADE
COUNTY SCHOOLS STAY ON TRACK. THESE YOUNG ADULT VOLUNTEERS
PROVIDE ACADEMIC, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT TO HELP
STUDENTS OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE BOTH IN AND OUTSIDE OF
THE CLASSROOM. HERE TO SHARE MORE ABOUT THEIR
WORK IS ANNA MARIE ORTEGA, NEW BOARD SHARE OF THE RED JACKET
SOCIETY. AND IT IS GREAT TO HAVE YOU WITH
US. THANKS FOR HAVING ME. IT IS SUCH A COOL
ORGANIZATION, I HAVE TO BE HONEST I NEVER HEARD OF IT AND
KNEW THAT MUCH ABOUT IT UNTIL I SAW YOU WERE OFFERED AND A WARD
AS EMERGING PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR, CONGRATULATIONS. THANK YOU. SO TELL US ABOUT THIS, WHAT
YOU GUYS DO. , SO IT IS FUNNY BECAUSE I
ALWAYS SAY IT IS THE BEST KEPT SECRET NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IT IS
AND WHEN THEY LEARN ABOUT IT THEY SAY I NEED TO KNOW MORE. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT NATIONAL
SERVICE SHOULD BE A PART OF THE AMERICAN DNA, THAT YOU WOULD
GIVE IDEALLY, YOUR SENIOR YEAR, CITY YEAR BRINGS TOGETHER A
GROUP OF YOUNG ADULTS TO GIVE A YEAR OF SERVICE AND PUT THEM IN
THE HIGHEST NEED SCHOOLS FOCUSING ON THE KIDS THAT ARE
MOST LIKELY TO NOT BE ON TRACK AND GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL. SO THESE YOUNG PEOPLE THERE, AT
LEAST 18 YEARS OLD, RIGHT, SOMEBODY OF, MANY OF THEM HAVE
GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE AND THEY TAKE THIS — SOME MIGHT CALL IT
A GAP YEAR, IT IS REALLY LIKE THE CITY YEAR AND THEY JUST
DEDICATE THEIR TIME TO HELPING AT-RISK KIDS, RIGHT? YES, SOME OF THEM WE HAD KIDS
THAT THOUGHT THEY WANT WITHED TO GO INTO EDUCATION AND DO THIS
YEAR AND REALIZE MAYBE EDUCATION ISN’T FOR THEM AND HAD THE
OPPOSITE, WE HAD KIDS THAT WANTED TO DO PRE-MED AND THEN
SPENT A YEAR IN SCHOOL AND REALIZED THAT EDUCATION WAS
THEIR PASSION SO IT IS SORT OF FOR KIDS WHO WANT DO GIVE A YEAR
OF SERVICE AND DON’T KNOW WHAT THEIR NEXT STEP MIGHT BE AND
TAKE THE YEAR OFF, WORK WITH THE STUDENTS AND THEN SEE WHAT
HAPPENS. SO WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP
DO THESE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE, THESE AMERICORPS VOLUNTEERS AND
THE STUDENTS WHO THEY ARE REALLY MENTORING? HOW CLOSE DO THEY GET? THEY ARE VERY CLOSE, TUMORS
AND ROLE MODELS, I LOVE ABOUT THE CORPS IT IS DIVERSE IN
GENDER AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AND ETHNICITY, SO OUR CORE, I
MEAN OUR STUDENTS CAN SEE THEMSELVES IN OUR CORE AND IT IS
A PEER-TO-PEER RELATIONSHIP, 18 TOO 24 SO THEY ARE ADULTS BUT
WITH TO OUR STUDENTS THEY ARE, YOU KNOW, YOUNG. THEY ARE SO YOUNG, THEY ARE
COOL AND IT IS FUNNY BECAUSE THE ROOM IS ALWAYS FULL OF KIDS,
EVEN THOSE NOT ON THE FOCUS LIST THEY LOVE HANGING OUT WITH THE
KIDS BECAUSE THEY ARE COOL, SO JUST SOMEONE TO TALK TO, IT IS
LIKE A SAFE PERSON THEY CAN GO TO THEM, WHETHER ACADEMIC
SUPPORT OR SOMEBODY JUST TO TALK TO, YOU KNOW, ABOUT SOMETHING
THAT IS GOING ON EMOTIONALLY, SO THEY ARE JUST A WONDERFUL,
WONDERFUL SUPPORT. YOU TOLD ME TOO, AND IT IS
BITTERSWEET BUT WHEN ONE OF THE VOLUNTEERS WAS LEAVING, WAS IT A
YOUNG LADY? YES. SHE GOT DONE WITH HER YEAR,
HER MEN TEE OR ONE OF HER STUDENTS WAS REALLY SAD AND ..
YOU ARE ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE SHE LITERALLY SAID I CAN’T
BELIEVE YOU ARE GOING GO, YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON THAT LOVES
ME. WHICH BREAKS MY HEART. I KNOW, THEY ARE LITERALLY A
LIFELINE FOR SOME OF THESE STUDENTS. I KNOW YOU GET A LOT OF
SUPPORT FROM MIAMI BROWARD SUPERINTENDENT WHO SAID QUOTE HE
IS A BIG WITH FAN AND HELPING MIRACLES HAPPEN IN CLASSROOM,
THEY ARE THE MOST MASTERFUL CURRICULUM INTERVENTIONISTS I
HAVE EVER MET. IT IS GREAT TO HAVE SUCH
SUPPORT FROM THE HEAD OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. IT IS, AND WE WORK VERY
CLOSELY WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OBVIOUSLY IN IDENTIFYING WHICH
SCHOOLS WE NEED TO BE IN AND WHAT STUDENTS WE NEED TO SERVE
AND REALLY LUCKY WE HAVE A SUPERINTENDENT THAT REALLY
UNDERSTANDS THE VALUE OF THIS AND WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE
SUPERINTENDENT IS HE ALSO REALLY UNDERSTANDS THE CHALLENGES THAT
OUR STUDENTS FACE IN THE CLASSROOM EVERY DAY THAT AFFECT
THEIR LEARNING. Pam: RIGHT. RIGHT. AND THAT’S WHY IN SOME WAYS LIKE
YOU SAY, WHOLE SCHOOL, WHOLE CHILD, YOU REALLY ARE HELPING
THE WHOLE CHILD ACADEMICALLY, MAYBE SPIRITUALLY AND SOCIALLY,
CORRECT? RIGHT. SO TALK ABOUT THE, ABOUT THE
NUMBERS BECAUSE THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND YOU
TOLD ME THIS WHOLE THING GOT STARTED BECAUSE THERE WAS A
STUDY DONE AT JOHNS HOPKINS THAT SHOWED IN SIXTH GRADE, WHAT,
TAKE IT FROM THERE. IN SIXTH GRADE YOU CAN LOOK
AT A CHILD AND LOOK AT THEIR ATTENDANCE, BEHAVIOR AND
COURSEWORK, THE EARLY WARNING INDICATORS AND YOU CAN TELL THE
LIKELIHOOD THAT THAT CHILD MIGHT END UP DROPPING OUT LATER SO
JOHNS HOPKINS DID THIS RESEARCH AND IF WE ARE, WE CAN TARGET THE
KIDS ON SIXTH GRADE AND KEEP THEM ON TRACK AND DELIVER THEM
ON TENTH GRADE ON TRACK THEY ARE FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO
GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL. IT IS AMAZING. IT IS SO EVIDENCE BASED THAN
IMPACT IS SO MEASURED SO WE KNOW THAT WHAT WE ARE DOING IS
ACTUALLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Pam: YES. SO GOING FORWARD, WHAT ARE THE
NEEDS HERE IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY? DO YOU NEED TO — I AM SURE —
WELL YOU TOLD ME TOO THERE ARE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN OTHER
SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTY WE WANT YOU TO BE HERE. YES. Pam: TALK ABOUT THAT. SO WE ARE IN 18 SCHOOLS
RIGHTS NOW, OUR LONG-TERM PLAN WOULD HAVE US IN 36, SO DOUBLING
THE AMOUNT OF SCHOOLS WE ARE IN AND ONLY WAY WE CAN GROW IS BY
GROWING THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT KNOW ABOUT THIS AND GIVE,
BECAUSE WHAT WE WITH DO WOULDN’T BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT OUR DONORS,
WE HAVE FUNDING FROM AMERICORPS AND FUNDING FROM THE SCHOOL
DISTRICT BUT OUR DOE CAN NORS OBVIOUSLY MAKE A BIG PORTION OF
WHAT WE. DO SO PART OF THE WORK
I TRY TO DO IS BRING MORE AWARENESS AND BRING IN DONORS 0
AND SHOW THEM WHAT WE WITH DO AND HAVE THEM SUPPORT THE WORK
AND THAT’S HOW WE WILL GROW. AND HOPEFULLY TOO YOUNG
PEOPLE WATCHING THIS OR EVEN A GRANDPARENT MIGHT SAY I THINK MY
GRANDCHILD WHO IS ABOUT TO GRADUATE CAN JOIN THE CORPS. ABSOLUTELY, I DIDN’T KNOW
ABOUT THIS WHEN I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, I THINK IT WOULD
HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL FOR ME SO WE ARE ALSO LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO
ARE YOUNG AND ENERGETIC AND REALLY CARE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY
AND WANT TO HELP. Pam: WHY THE RED JACKETS? SO THE RED JACKET, THIS WAS
WITH STARTED IN BOSTON AND OBVIOUSLY IT IS COLD SO I THINK
THE RED JACKET WAS LIKE THAT’S LINED JACKET THAT THEY WOULD
WEAR AND THEY END THE THAT’S JACKET DOWN HERE AND EVERYBODY
WAS LIKE, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS? I AM REALLY HOT. THE JACKETS ARE NOT LINED WITH
FLEECE IN MIAMI BUT THEY ARE THE UNIFORM AND A SYMBOL AND FOR OUR
STUDENTS, IT IS A SYMBOL LIKE MAYBE THE PERSON IN THE RED
JACKET MAYBE CHANGE CAN FROM YEAR TO YEAR BUT THEY KNOW THE
RED JACKET IS LIKE A SAFE PERSON, A MENTOR, IT IS A TUTOR,
IT IS A SYMBOL OF LIKE SAFETY AND EMPATHY AND IT IS JUST A
WONDERFUL, WHEN PEOPLE SEE THE RED JACKET THEY KNOW WHAT IT
MEANS AND IT IS LOADED. Pam: I LOVE THAT TOO, AND I
KNOW THERE ARE PATCHES ON IT AND ONE OF THE PATCHES I SAW SAWS
AMERICORPS, GETTING THINGS DONE. YES. Pam: SO THAT IS REALLY KIND
OF — IS THAT SORT OF LIKE THE MANTRA, JUST GETTING IN THERE
AND GETTING THIS WORK DONE? GETTING IT DONE, YES, THEY
WORK TEN HOURS A DAY AND WELCOME THE STUDENTS WHEN THEY GET
THERE, SO WHEN STUDENTS GET TO SCHOOL THE CORPS MEMBERS ARE
OUTSIDE CHAPTERING AND GIVING HIGH FIVES. Pam: EVERY DAY? EVERY DAY. Pam: OH, MY GOSH. THEY HAVE AN ENERGY I REALLY
ADMIRE. Pam: AND.
AND WHICH, AND WITH THE KIDS ALL DAY LONG, AFTER SCHOOL THEY
DO ACTIVITY WITH THE KIDS, TUTORING, IT IS A REALLY — IT
IS DEFINITELY A YEAR OF SERVICE. Pam: YES. THEY ARE PUTTING IN A LOT OF
WORK AND A LOT OF HOURS. Pam: I THINK IT IS
IMPORTANT TOO, I KNOW THE MODEL IS ABCS, ATTENDANCE, BEHAVIOR
AND ENGLISH AND MATH, REALLY HELP THE KIDS FOCUS ON TO ACT
EXCEL IN. THAT WILL DETERMINE THE
CHILD’S SUCCESS. Pam: THANK YOU A SO MUCH. THANK YOU. Pam: IT IS GREAT TO HAVE
YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Pam: KEEP US POSTED ON HE
EVERYTHING AND WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU BACK TO TELL US MORE
ABOUT IT. AND TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WORK
IN WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE STUDENTS SUCCEED VISIT THEIR
WEBSITE, WE WILL HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
@YOURSOUTHFL.

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