By Kayla Dunbar, AmeriCorps member serving on the DePuy Synthes Companies of Johnson & Johnson team with Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School

There are many emotions City Year AmeriCorps members can experience when they spend every day in a classroom. Some of these emotions include joy, happiness, spirit, and pride—pride not only in our students and the organization we are a part of, but also pride in and for ourselves. We take pride not only in how we act around our students, being positive role models, but also being able to say, “Today I helped at least one student step closer to their goal.”

Along with all these positive feelings and emotions come a few not so good feelings. There can be stress and even fear. As AmeriCorps members, we serve very long days and even some nights. But even with all that commitment,we worry about getting everything done on time for our students.

The fear can be that we are not good enough to be working with students, or the fear that one of our students will not reach his/her goals for the future. There is also the fear that one is not doing enough for not only oneself but for one’s teammates.

In honor of National Face Your Fears Day, I am taking a look at these fears and how overcoming just one will help students immensely. Many AmeriCorps members try to face their fears by being as organized as possible and doing their best all the time for their students and teams. One of my biggest fears is not being good enough to work with students. I'm tackling this fear head on by giving all I can give everyday.

One day recently I was working with a student. We had spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to put dialogue into the story she was working on. Finally after about 25 minutes of trying to figure out what dialogue is and how to use she finally said “I get it!” and then wrote an entire page of the story using dialogue. It made all the fear that I felt not mean as much because I got to see a student begin to understand what we spent so much time on. It is truly a rewarding feeling.

Even if we only overcome one fear in these ten months of service, we are still making a difference for our students and helping them succeed. Serving with City Year and engaging students has taught me to look for the joys and happiness in each and every day. It is these emotions that help us overcome each of our fears. At City Year we start and end each day by sharing something good that happened during the day, a “joy.” This helps us stay positive and remember that our experiences are not about our fears, they are about what we can do for the students.

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