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Special Edition: I’m Coming Back!

April 30, 2013

By: Meghan Donohue, Corps Member Proudly Serving on the Albemarle Foundation Team at Belaire High School

With May approaching and school coming to an end, this last month of service is bittersweet for everyone. Trying to find closure with our students is imperative and heartfelt.  Reflecting on our impact is empowering and sentimental. Thinking about our life after City Year is both anxious and hopeful. It’s an emotional final stage, and everyday we push to end things on a lasting idealistic note for our students, the Baton Rouge community, and the City Year organization as a whole.

Thankfully, I will not have to say goodbye just yet. Instead, it will be see you later. Inspired by my enthusiasm for City Year and desire to better myself as a leader, starting in July, I will commit to a second year of service as a Senior Corps Member here at CYBR!

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Why am I coming back? I have a few reasons…

I know my second year of service as a Team Leader will look very different from my first. I will still be in the schools, but my direct focus will not be on the students. Cultivating a team culture, supporting first-year Corps Members, and maintaining school relations will be my priorities. Although I will miss working in the classroom first hand, writing lesson plans, and running interventions with my Focus List students, I’ve accepted this challenge because I believe in City Year and I want to help next year’s corps discover this belief. I’m returning for a second year because I want to see CYBR deepen it’s impact, continuing to improve student achievement  in the public schools in which we serve.

The Team Leader role defined:

“Team Leaders are school based Senior Corps Members who lead team initiatives such as school related projects and community engagement. In addition they support their Program Manager in maintaining sustainable school house relationships and service delivery. Throughout the service year they work with their teams to provide peer coaching in increasing their service delivery and navigating their corps experience.”

PITW # 54 Build the site. Build the organization. Build national service. 

This PITW perfectly represents why I’m coming back. I’m coming back because I want to ensure that next year, the BR site will develop powerful and dedicated Corps Members who will improve the academic and personal lives of our students.  I’m coming back because  I understand that next year’s corps of young leaders can elevate and strengthen the impact of this year’s corps. I’m also coming back because I am confident that the path of national service can fight the drop out crisis in this country.

Now for a more individualized reason…

Being a young adult who has chosen the path of national service after college, I understand how volunteerism can benefit both the receiver and giver of good will. As you give so much of your time and self in service, you gain tremendous leaderships skills (and develop a greater conscious knowledge of your own character) in return. I know that serving a second year with City Year will further transform me into a more effective leader, capable of achieving my long-term goal of becoming an effective future teacher.

Teaching children, both in academic or athletic settings, has always been my passion. In the past, I was a volunteer youth sports coach, worked summer recreation camps, and directed nursery school enrichment programs. My love for children and education flourished when I contributed to the work of Syracuse University Literacy Corps as a tutor and mentor. I served in an urban elementary school for two years, and my work there prompted me to apply to City Year. As a prospective educator, I know I am in the right place with CYBR.

Teachers are leaders, and as a growing, self-aware leader, my year as a Corps Member has shown me my strengths and inadequacies. I still need to gain and develop leadership experiences and skills. I also still need to gain and develop more vocal confidence, assertiveness, and responsibility. To achieve all of this, I need to launch myself off of the perfect platform. A second year of service with City Year, as a Team Leader, is that perfect platform.

I know if I can lead a diverse group of 17-24 year olds through a year of service, then I can certainly command my own classroom of children one day and change their lives.

If you’re interested in making a positive impact on your world and life, apply today!

Visit cityyear.org to learn more.

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