By Carlos Santiago, AmeriCorps member serving on the McDonough Elementary School Team.
I remember being in 8th grade and joining City Year's Young Heroes program a little over a decade ago. Every Saturday morning, I would be dropped off by my mother at the Manchester Police Athletic League. For the first half of the day, City Year lead a group of middle school students in a variety of teambuilding activities and taught us about a new current event issue. Then for the second half of the day we would go out into the city of Manchester and do a service project that helped with the issue we learned about earlier. Those kind strangers in red jackets made me feel loved and filled me with a newfound sense of purpose. Now the students I serve today receive that same love from me. Rippling that love is a true honor. And, after City Year New Hampshire's 18 Minute Networking Event, I am now equipped with more wisdom on how I could fit into City Year's future.
On the afternoon of November 30th, 2018, our office space, which we call the “Beloved Community,” was full of some new faces holding up signs with names on them. Walking in felt like I just stepped off a flight and was being waited for by multiple limo drivers. While most of these faces were new to me, they were not new to City Year. Most of the guest speakers were either City Year alumni or a friend or relative of someone in City Year, and they were here today to talk to us AmeriCorps members about our career plans. The first 18-minute-long rotation I signed up for was with Mr. Ted Wing, Chief of Staff at CYNH. Ted spoke to us all, a group of about six people, with the kindness and calmness of a librarian. He stressed that this organization needs good people. People with a high degree of empathy and understanding. He also mentioned that his success as an AmeriCorps member made him a great candidate for a returning AmeriCorps member.
After an informative and pleasant 18 minutes with Ted, I walked over to Kristin Hill. Kristen is a Recruitment Manager in the East Region at City Year. She was always fascinated by people, their way of thinking and interacting. After studying criminal justice in college, she joined City Year. Kristen wanted to help folks in society while their brains are still in the process of developing and maturing. What fascinated me the most during this rotation was that she called herself an introvert. As an introvert myself, it was a breath of fresh air to speak to someone in a higher position in the organization who had similar social struggles as me.
With Kristen Hill's business card in my hand, and one more rotation to attend, I chose to go to the first guest I made eye contact with. That guest was Mr. Curt McDermott. He proudly works at Goffstown High School as an English teacher. College became a topic of discussion, and it was nice to hear Curt say that he advocates for AmeriCorps to his students. He understands that college is very pricey, and that AmeriCorps changes lives in an infinite number of positive ways. One of those ways is helping young people pay for college. Students who let that message sink in leave his class with hope and options in their minds for their future.
To wrap this blog up in a nice little bow, I would like to thank City Year for the opportunity to enjoy and share my experience at this 18 Minute Networking Event. Each speaker shared personal beliefs and experiences that I was able to relate to. That made me feel like I already have what it takes to continue working for City Year. This event doubled the pride I felt for being faithful to my childhood dream of joining City Year as an adult. I do not know what my future holds, but I do know that I left that event with my head held a bit higher.
If you or someone you know is interested in serving a year with City Year, get in touch with a recruiter today! Our next application deadline is March 1st.