Written by Gilly McBride on the Rockwell Automation Team serving at Rogers Street Academy

Emily Castillo Quintero, the AmeriCorps member serving in the fifth-grade bilingual classroom at Rogers Street Academy, has already made a name for herself in the City Year Milwaukee community. As her team’s exemplar of the value “service to a cause greater than self,” a core organizer of the La Faja Latina affinity organization, and in her everyday service, Emily demonstrates a powerful commitment to serving by her values.

“I serve so that students of color - in other words, like me - have a person there that can help mentor and support them,” Emily said, ”because I think every child should have someone like that.”

From the dozens of hugs and excited smiles she receives each morning, it’s clear that “Miss Emily” has succeeded in building close and trusting relationships with so many of her students already. To her, serving as a positive role model begins with seeing herself in her students, so that they may see themselves in her own life experiences as well - from City Year Milwaukee, to her degree in speech pathology from Marquette University, to the year she studied abroad in South Korea.

“I guess what I would want them to take out of [my service] is an example, like: I did this, I’m like you, you should do it too,” said Emily. “I want them to take an example of what a role model can do, so that they can be role models for other people!”

As of now, Emily intends to pursue a second year of service for the opportunity to continue mentoring students of color throughout the Milwaukee area, but knows this kind of service is not easy.

“Live your life day by day, but remember what you’re doing it for...keep constantly reminding yourself,” she said. “Keep asking yourself why you’re here and what you want to get out of this....and enjoy every moment of it.”

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