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Corps Member Monday: Everybody Can Be Great Because Everybody Can Serve

February 3, 2014

by: Ben Jacobi corps member proudly serving on the Albemarle Foundation team at Merrydale Elementary School

You might say I had a chip on my shoulder when I found out I am the youngest Corps Member in Baton Rouge. I was desperate to prove all the stereotypes about 18-year-olds wrong, to convince my peers that age is just a number and that I am just as intelligent, insightful, and persevering as any of the oldest Corps members.

Ironically, if this year has taught me anything, it’s that I should embrace the fact that I am fresh out of a small high school in Arkansas and mostly surrounded by college graduates from all across the nation. City Year has taught me that instead of proving to everyone how old a soul I have, I should let them prove to me how many things I have yet to learn.

I work in a 5th grade English class with Shara Guarnaccia, who graduated from NYU, designed her own major, and has worked in education substantially longer than I have. She is level-headed, hard-working, well-organized, and just plain smart. For about the first week, I was jealous of her ability to work in our chaotic setting with such apparent ease and accomplish so much in short amounts of time. Now, however, I’m never envious of her work ethic, only inspired by it. I’ve had similar reactions to the rest of the Merrydale team and the Corps in general.

This past weekend, I was offered a full ride to University of New Orleans. The news couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Thanks to this year of service, I’m much more aware that I need to humbly pursue a higher education rather than brag about what little I know. And there’s no rush to cram knowledge into my head: I’m only 18.


City Year 081

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