The decision to become a City Year AmeriCorps member five years ago began as a one-year experiment. At the time, I was a Sociology major a senior at Ohio State University. I was completely unaware of my strengths and had no idea what I wanted to do for a career after graduation.
I received an email from the Arts and Sciences department about a gap year program known as City Year. The idea of working full-time in a school to for a year to help students reach their full potential, and the benefit of receiving an education award after the service year to pursue a Master’s in Education resonated with me. I was also looking to find more independence, having never ventured far from home. I figured since it was only a one-year commitment, I would give it a shot.
I decided to apply to Cleveland and after I was accepted, I made the move in August 2010. I lived with four other corps members who were all very different people and had different life experiences. It was a unique opportunity for each of us to launch our postgraduate lives together in this shared experience. It provided me the space to establish my identity.
I was immersed in a community of peers and students who inspired me to believe in the power of education and social change. I immediately bought in. The City Year culture and values has been influential to my growth as a leader. Suddenly, I was a part of something bigger than myself. I connected with the idealistic values, felt safe being put into challenging situations and learned that I could persevere through challenging work. I knew I wanted to continue to be a part of City Year and its mission for more than one year.
City Year has opportunities for second year positions such as, Team Leaders, or Project Leaders.. As a Team Leader, I had the chance to inspire a group of new corps members and work with the same students I served the prior year. The position consisted of a lot of problem solving, building trusting relationships with school administrators and corp members and performing data management to track student progress.
Now, five years later, after serving a as a Program Manager for two years, I am the Regional Recruitment Manager for the Midwest Region. I get to visit college campuses all over the country to share how the City Year service opportunity has impacted my life and encourage other young people to do the same. What began as a one-year experiment working in schools has evolved into a lifelong passion for developing leaders through full-time service.