Ayesha Sajjad of Canton Township at Friday’s career day for City Year members, college-age men and women who are assigned to local schools to provide at-risk students with tutoring and mentoring. Sajjad, a 2011 University of Michigan graduate, wants to become a doctor and work in underserved communities.
Recent college graduates Rebecca Nadis and Ayesha Sajjad are devoting 10 months of their lives to helping high school students at risk of dropping out, but on Friday they were taking a day to develop their own careers.
Nadis, who grew up in Farmington Hills, and Sajjad, who lives in Canton Township, were among about 80 college-age men and women attending career day Friday at Comcast, the cable, telephone and Internet provider with an area headquarters in Plymouth Township. Participants were meeting with Comcast executives and human resources professionals, and attending workshops on resume-writing and interviewing skills, including going through mock interviews.
The participants were members of City Year, a nonprofit that puts young people in schools to provide support and tutoring for underperforming students in sixth through ninth grade. Comcast has been a partner with City Year for about 10 years.
Lot of changes
“It’s exactly what I need,” Nadis, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a history degree, said of the career day. “It’s great to take a day to think about your professional life.”
“I feel like there are a lot of changes I can make,” said Sajjad, during a break from a resume-writing workshop, referring to her own resume. “It’s definitely been helpful so far.”
Sajjad, who graduated from U-M last summer with a degree in neuroscience, is assigned through City Year to Osborn High School in Detroit, where she tutors ninth-graders in algebra, mentors other students and coaches them on issues that might be holding them back, such as behavior or attendance. Some of her students have little parental support, lack good role models, or have problems outside of school that make academics difficult, she said.
“For some of those students, we are their positive role models,” she said.
Sajjad plans to attend medical school and wants to become a primary physician and work in underserved areas.
Nadis wants to eventually teach at the high-school level.
“High schoolers are so full of energy and crazy ideas,” she said, adding she wants to help students “unlock their own ideas and their own way of thinking about the world.”
Nadis is working at Truman High School in Taylor, tutoring 15 students in mathematics and English and also providing behavior coaching and mentoring. She feels a commitment to Detroit — she is living in an apartment in Midtown — and says she’s enjoyed exploring the city on her own and as part of City Year service projects.
City Year Detroit participants are in their assigned schools Monday through Thursday, often putting in 10 hours a day there, doing everything from greeting students in the morning to tutoring to behavior coaching to planning with teachers for the next day, said Tammy Bryant, City Year Detroit program and training director. “They play a really critical role,” Bryant said.
On Fridays, the City Year group is either out in the community for a service project — like working at an emergency food pantry, helping on a Habitat for Humanity site, or working at a community garden — or taking time for professional development, such as the Comcast career day.
City Year members get a stipend of about $1,000 a month and a college scholarship worth about $5,500 upon successful completion of their assignments.
“They will all be in the work force one day said Maria Holmes,” a Comcast regional director of community investment. “They’re learning while they give back to the community.”
Comcast’s partnership with City Year began with the nonprofit’s Detroit branch and has since spread to City Year branches in cities around the country.
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