by Rebecca Kropp, AmeriCorps member serving with the Condon K-6 School

My teammate Alexandra-Marie graduated from Syracuse University in May of 2015 and is now serving at the Condon K-6 School in South Boston in a 3rd-grade classroom. One of Alexandra-Marie’s first interactions with a City Year staff, unknown to her at the time, would not be the last.

At the beginning of August Alexandra-Marie, like so many of us, was brand new to Boston. Before we could begin our training and service we had a registration and orientation day. In shifts all the AmeriCorps Members sat down with a staff member to confirm their information in the City Year system. Alexandra-Marie sat down with Amy Goodnough, Evaluation Coordinator.

A few months later Alexandra-Marie decided to take advantage of one of the many opportunities City Year provides us with.  She applied to get a City Year mentor. When she got matched she was pleasantly surprised that it was with a staff member she already knew! As it turns out Amy Goodnough, the same staff member that helped her at registration two and a half months earlier, was Alexandra-Marie’s new mentor.

Rebecca Kropp (RK): Why did you decide to apply for a City Year Mentor instead of one of the other mentor opportunities?
Alexandra-Marie Figueroa (AF): I realized that I wanted to learn more about City Year as an organization because it is very close to what I want to professionally. I thought if I had a mentor that worked for City Year I could also learn more about it as an organization. I wanted to be able to balance between figuring out my LACY and next steps for after City Year but also explore and learn more about City Year beyond just a service experience.

RK: Tell me a little more about your mentor, Amy.
AF: She was the first staff member that I interacted with for more than 5 seconds! Amy actually served a few years ago so it’s nice because while she is staff I can still comfortably talk to her and she understands my perspective and what it means to be an AmeriCorps Member.

RK: What are your plans for after City Year? And how is Amy helping you figure that out?
AF: I am not really sure what I want to do after City Year. I’m very pro education as an institution of Human Rights. When I came into City Year I was thinking I would do a year of service, figure out what I wanted to go to grad school for and apply to grad school. As I started service and found it was harder to narrow down what I wanted to do after and what I wanted to go to grad school for. I want to work with human rights and I want to work domestically in America. After talking to Amy I have been able to determine that there is not a right track or only one track for going to grad school. I don’t necessarily have to go to grad school right away, I can continue to figure out what I want to do while I bounce from nonprofit to nonprofit and get more experience. Right now looking into serving a second AmeriCorps year with City Year or an internship and then going to grad school.

After every conversation my biggest take away is that life serves its course and there’s not just one way to do anything and we just have to find the best way for us, and that so long as you have people who believe in you every step of the way you’ll be fine.

By the end of the year I’m hoping to have developed a little more direction for my life and next steps after City Year as well have built a relationship with Amy that I feel comfortable reaching out and touching base and bouncing ideas off of.

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