LTTE: A year of giving back

Jeffery Smith

After I graduate from CSU in May with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, I’ll return to Denver, my hometown, to begin a year of service as a member of the City Year AmeriCorps team.

I first learned about City Year a year ago, when ambassadors for the program came to one of my classes to introduce the program and explain the dropout crisis that America is facing.  An education nonprofit and AmeriCorps program, City Year pairs teams of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 years old with the highest need public schools in the country.  The teams work directly with high-need students in grades 3-9 to help them stay in school and on track to graduate.

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I decided to apply to become a member of the corps when I realized City Year’s values and education goals of community building, education achievement and pro-social interaction were closely aligned with my own. I also saw that City Year would give me the chance to work directly with students, experience that will help me move closer to my career goal.

City Year operates in 26 communities across the U.S., and their work hits close to my heart. I’ve known students who attended many of the Denver schools where City Year serves. Many of them struggled and eventually dropped out. Even students in my own high school gave up on school. While City Year hasn’t always been available in Denver, it’s there now and I’m very excited to become a part of it.  I’ll be able to give back to the school system that gave me my K-12 education, and I can become a positive role model and tutor for many at-risk Denver students.

With my degree in Human Development and Family Studies, I aspire to become a high school guidance counselor. Serving on the City Year corps will help me reach this goal by allowing me to directly interact with high-need students and to work alongside teachers and school administrators to give those students the additional support they need to realize their potential. As a City Year corps member, I’ll work full time in a school, greeting kids in the morning when they arrive, engaging with them throughout the day, managing after school programs and providing them with the social and emotional support they need to make the most of their learning experience.

If you are interested in performing national service with City Year, check out http://www.cityyear.org to learn more about the corps and how you can help kids stay in school and on track for success.

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