When we sat down with the team, they had just started their LEAD program earlier that week, and were excited at the potential the program has. The LEAD program is designed to give students a space to share their insights with one another in a continuous discussion throughout the year. City Year AmeriCorps members meet with groups of students over lunch (referred to as ‘LEAD Lunches’), and together they create dialogue around various issues, ranging from the day-to-day issues in their communities, to their take on current events.
Corps member Jasmine, who serves as the program’s coordinator, stated that her biggest priority has been to develop relationships with each of the freshman. Although this program existed last year, the team found it important for students to weigh-in on the rules and expectations of the program, allowing them to create their own parameters for accountability. According to Jasmine, “you have to genuinely know [the students] in order to effectively help them.”
If you’ve been to a City Year event, chances are you’re familiar with Power Greeting. If you’re a student attending school where a City Year team is serving, you’re more than familiar with it, as corps members regularly power-greet students in the morning in order to reinforce attendance and energize students for the day.
The Collins Team has begun to expand their morning programing to include engaging students whom have already arrived at school, and are waiting in the cafeteria for the first bell to ring. Corps member Joon has experimented with bringing board games down to the cafeteria to get groups of students mentally engaged for their day. This approach also serves as an incentive for students to boost their attendance, as it means they’ll be met by engaging corps members who can also use that time to see how those students are doing at the beginning of the day. While he admits that it’s important to maintain a balance between high-energy power-greeting and informal morning programing, his ultimate priority is to get more students coming to school.