City Year Detroit needs your help! We have 6 current corps members who have made it to the next round of the Challenge Detroit competition, you can vote for more than one person, they can’t make it to the interview with our extra push, Voting is now open until April 7 and must be done on a computer (NOT a mobile device). Each Facebook user can only vote once per semi-finalist and all votes must be cast through the voting platform; wall posts will not count.
Charles P. Ashley – https://toptabapp.com/e/2op4?p=r5
Kate Mulhern – https://toptabapp.com/e/2oom?p=r5
Paul Sandy – https://toptabapp.com/e/2opv?p=r5
April Newberry – https://toptabapp.com/e/2oov?p=r5
Ben Newton – https://toptabapp.com/e/2oqw?p=r5
Melissa Ponce - http://toptabapp.com/e/2ore
A City Year
As a Corps member, I travel with my team each day to the high school I serve at, Central Collegiate Academy, and collaborate with our math teachers to support student success. We are there to provide individualized attention to the students who need it the most. While bringing my students up to grade level is important, I think the most exciting part of my service has been giving the students opportunities outside of the classroom. These activities, such as the after-school programming and school events that we provide for our students, support them holisticallyin addition to educationally.
This past week, my team put on our first large event, the 1stannual College and Career Night at Central. We reached out to nearly 50 college and career representatives to come to the event and represent their institutions to our students. After several months of planning, the night came and we had 15 students volunteer to stay after school to help us set up. It was very exciting to see some of the students volunteer to escort the admissions representatives to their table.
We had an amazing turn out; students and their families came to our event, networked with college and career representatives, and most importantly they learned about the standards they will be held to throughout the rest of their high school career in order to be admitted into a college. Luckily, we received many donations to support our event and were able to raffle off prizes for students as a motivation for them to engage with all of the representatives who were present. The school administration is excited to continue College and Career Night in the future with the foundations our City Year team built for this year.
Another exciting project I’ve been a part of was not one of my own host school’s, but rather a national event. Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day, AmeriCorps programs across the country plan large service projects and invite community members to become involved in revitalizing their local areas. This year, City Year Detroit partnered with Detroit Public Schools to plan service projects at four schools and also provided support for several local non-profits.
My service site was Osborn High School, a school known to be a staple of Detroit’s east side neighborhood. Osborn is an educational complex that has been highly involved in education reform in recent years and now includes academies within the school to meet their student’s diverse interests. This includes a college prep academy and an academy for design and alternative energy. We had projects across the Osborn complex, including painting inspirational quotes in the restrooms, redecorating the college prep office suite, and remodeling a room into a student lounge similar to a college student union.
A great thing about Osborne High School is that the engagement level among students is very high. During our planning days, we had students ask about volunteering and many came out on MLK Day to support the projects at their school. I was a project coordinator for the bathroom painting projects and had a City Year alum and three Osborn students volunteering alongside me. Throughout all of the day’s service projects, we had many other student volunteers, City Year alumni, and corporate volunteers who participated in the MLK Day service.
This guest post is written by Tiran Burrell, an Eastern Michigan University alum and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. serving as a Team Leader with City Year Detroit on the United Way Team at Osborn High School.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is among one of the greatest people who has ever lived. His undying optimism in troubling times as well as his drive to ensure civil rights for all Americans has truly become an inspiration that has been felt throughout the world. He has imprinted in the minds of many that indeed, dreams do come true. Most importantly, he has done a tremendous amount of service to humanity.
He is truly a member of Alpha Phi Alpha that lived up to our motto:
First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.
As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., like Dr. King, service is a large factor in my life. Dr. King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” This quote is something that I truly believe and connects to the altruism associated with “Servants of All.” As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., I have served in various places such as: shelters, urban gardens, youth aid programs, fundraisers and even city clean-up initiatives.
Serving others, especially in the city where I was raised, is extremely important to me because I want to see my city grow. I joined City Year Detroit in hopes to see this happen – starting with education, because it is the foundation from where it all happens. I see students much like myself not granted the opportunities I was and it inspires me to change it. At some point, it stops being about yourself and it starts being about how to “make better happen” for everybody. I am glad I joined City Year to be a part of that change in Detroit, something that another member of Alpha Phi Alpha and former mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer, sought after when he assisted in starting the City Year site here.
On June 23, 1963, months before the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King first gave his unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech here on the streets of Detroit. I am delighted to serve in Detroit on MLK Day because there are so many ties that bind us together.
As a fraternity brother who came from the place where Dr. King first shared his dream, it is a great honor to be a part of this day. I love the fact that Detroit Public Schools alumni like myself have volunteered to serve on this day at various schools around the city, including Osborn, which is the school I serve at. This is proof that others have started living, according to King, as they work on the concerns of all humanity. This day is greater than me and why I serve. It is improving the conditions that we live in to make them better so next generations can “Transcend All” that we have done.
It is with the utmost pride that I partake in this service day for Detroit, Dr. King, Alpha Phi Alpha, and City Year.
Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great, because anyone can serve.” Greatness does not always lie in your accomplishments, but how you can make the world a better place. As servants, it is our duty to do great things.
On Tuesday November 4, voters took to the polls, on what proved to be a historical day. Noble Elementary Middle School, where my team and I serve, was a voting site and was closed for the day, but that didn’t stop us from serving.
Our day started at 8:00am, instead of the usual 7:15am. Our Team Leader scheduled us to volunteer for the day at Arts & Scraps, a non-profit organization that uses recycled industrial materials to create kits for people of all ages use their minds to think, learn and create. The service began in the Arts & Scraps warehouse, where my team and I formed two mini assembly lines to prepare kits to be used in classrooms.
The assembly line I was part was responsible for preparing kits so that students could create their own cars as part of an activity in the classroom. The kit included items that many people use on a daily basis like straws, for the axles and used tickets to represent seats. Each kit came with instructions and information on how the materials included were recycled.
At Noble, the students have been learning about the benefits of the 3 r’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. Arts & Scraps makes use of all three and our students could learn a great deal from the organization. Perhaps as the year continues we can order kits and make use of them sometime during the school day.
At the end of our how time in the warehouse, we were each given a goodie bag so that we could be just as creative as the students who would soon use the kits we created. Seeing what many would consider trash, put to use in such an innovative way at Arts & Scraps was really impressive. If you’d like to find out more about the organization, visit their website: http://www.artsandscraps.org
Kamal is a ninth grade student in the Metro Detroit area. In the first few weeks of his Algebra 1 class he turned in two out of about ten assignments. Those two assignments being the syllabus and the in class ice breaker done on the first day of class.
Ms. Maria is a City Year, AmeriCorps member serving in Kamal’s school. Concerned because of Kamal’s lack of effort, she decided to get to know him. During their first conversation, Kamal informed Ms. Maria that he had attempted to do all of the algebra assignments. However, he had not completed them because he just did not know how. Kamal even showed Ms. Maria the half completed assignments that he carried with him in his folder.
That day Kamal agreed to have lunch with Ms. Maria. The two meet in the City Year room at the school. As they ate lunch Kamal explained to Ms. Maria why he hadn’t turned in any of his assignments. It was quite simple. Kamal didn’t want to turn in incomplete and incorrect work for fear that the teacher would think he was stupid.
By the end of the first of their many lunch discussions Kamal had informed Ms. Maria of his past math failures, and lack of ability to learn algebra.
In spite of Kamal’s lack of enthusiasm Ms. Maria decided to continue to offer him support in his Algebra class. If she noticed that he seemed disengaged she would make an effort to try to get him back on task. If she noticed him struggling she would offer her assistance.
Eventually, Kamal began to seek assistance from Ms. Maria as well as from his teacher. During his lunch period he would even eat in the City Year room so that he could get extra assistance with homework and to have lessons further explained to him.
By the end of Kamal’s Algebra 1 class, he had completed and turned in all of his assignments. His test and quiz scores had increased. Most importantly his attitude about himself and his abilities had changed. Kamal had walked into his Algebra 1 class knowing that he was bad at math. As he walked away from his final exam he looked at Ms. Maria and said, “I just killed that exam.”
Written by Aundrea Stokes