Written by Hannah Laub, AmeriCorps Member serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation Team at Kenilworth Science & Technology
It’s March, which means St. Patrick’s Day, the beginning of spring, and Corps Appreciation Month. In City Year, Corps Appreciation Month is the time of the year where AmeriCorps members feel recognized for the hard work they do every day in school. Working with students means putting in a lot of hard work for things that are not always appreciated or recognized by the people you do them for. Of course, when a student does tell you they value you or something you’ve done for them, it serves as your motivation and inspiration for the next two weeks. But in March, City Year is that extra reminder that we are doing great things, even when we feel burnt out, and cannot easily see the results.
They say that the fastest way to an AmeriCorps member’s heart is through their stomach, so City Year started off strong by providing us all lunch at the last Leadership Development Day, complete with a snowball stand waiting for us outside! A couple weeks later, City Year surprised each team with a free Taco Bell breakfast, complete with tacos, burritos, cinnamon bites, orange juice, and coffee. Although it may seem like something small, being able to sit together as a team for 20 minutes eating free, delicious Taco Bell gave us all an extra oomph of energy. Finally, on St. Patrick’s Day, City Year gave the corps permission to break uniform and wear green to school. Again, although this may seem like a small thing, it went a long way to be able to wear our own clothes for a day, and avoid relentless pinching from our students. And finally, our latest appreciation was a care package from City Year, complete with snacks, St. Patrick’s Day beads, and a gift card for free Lemonade from Canes.
Although it is great to get some free food, the most meaningful appreciations come from the people you work with every day. So, I asked one student and three AmeriCorps members what they appreciate about our corps this year.
Colleen Morgan, the team leader at Kenilworth Science and Technology, appreciates her senior corps team for “leading this year with hearts full of love and understanding. This team has taught me to be a leader while also channeling grace and empathy.”
Anika and Lucy, two AmeriCorps members also at Kenilworth, appreciate the corps for the hard work they’ve done this year, and the strength and commitment the corps has shown in the last few months specifically. The year is coming to and end, and AmeriCorps members have to start thinking about next year, but they appreciate that everyone is still so dedicated to their schools now.
Finally, Garry, a student that has also become a friend, appreciates AmeriCorps members not just for the work they do, but for their personalities and who they are as people.