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During my time as a City Year AmeriCorps member, the brightest spots in my day came from the people around me. From greeting students with smiles as they arrived at school to connecting with my teammates after another powerful day of service, there was always joy to be found. We learned so much about empathy and caring for others that year. Eight years later and I still get so much joy from connecting with my teammates. (Shout out to the Burke!)
City Year was built around the power of people supporting others. Though these are unprecedented times, City Year’s ability to bring people together for good has not wavered. While so much is uncertain, and – let’s face it – scary, I am filled with hope when I see how our community has come together.
From making sure families and children have enough to eat, to checking in on our older neighbors, to staying home and doing our part to protect the health and wellbeing of people more at risk – the care we have for one another will see us through this time. And we all have a role to play in serving others.
When schools closed, City Year Boston quickly shifted their service. AmeriCorps members are currently providing academic support in virtual classrooms - answering questions, assisting teachers in planning lessons, and reviewing assignments. They’re calling families’ homes to check in with students and build connectedness. Students love hearing from them!
To our City Year AmeriCorps members – we know this isn’t the service you imagined, but I can’t stress enough how your work is more important now than ever. Thank you for your flexibility and dedication to leading with empathy, kindness, and open hearts.
To our supporters – I invite you to join City Year Boston in celebrating their incredible young leaders, who are helping to ensure that students continue to receive critical academic services, coaching, and mentoring in these difficult circumstances. As part of the Starry Night campaign, you’ll hear stories from AmeriCorps members, alumni, teachers, and principals about the impact our service has on students. We are proud of the impact we have in the classroom, and even more proud of the opportunity to support our students when we can’t be in school.
As someone who works in public schools, I know the difference a City Year AmeriCorps member can make in supporting home learning, and just by being another caring adult for students to lean on during this tough and confusing time. Whether in school or in virtual classrooms, corps members bring joy into learning spaces. They’re a bright spot for students - just as City Year, and the people who are part of this community, is a bright spot for me.
City Year Updates
In March, Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced the closure of all 125 schools citywide. These school closures left 50,000 Boston students without access to in-person schooling. City Year Boston is working closely with BPS to provide innovative distance learning opportunities to students, adapting our Whole School Whole Child program model to suit virtual spaces.
While teachers continue to provide whole-class instruction using platforms like Google Classroom or Zoom, City Year’s AmeriCorps members are providing academic supports in English language arts/literacy and math by facilitating breakout groups, answering questions, and leading enrichment activities. Our corps members are assisting teachers in planning lessons and reviewing students’ assignments and holding office hours to provide one-on-one and small-group tutoring. Importantly, our AmeriCorps members are also supporting students’ social-emotional health and placing phone calls home to students and their families as a way to build connectedness, troubleshoot, and communicate updates.
City Year Boston is one of the only partners to support Boston Public School students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
City Year’s support of virtual classrooms is a pivotal step in preventing learning loss and generating opportunities for new learning, as well as ensuring greater equity of experience among families who may not otherwise have the ability to facilitate in-home instruction. Beyond this school year, City Year will continue to engage in the virtual space to support BPS students and will be in schools next year to support students when they will need more than ever.