A Brief Introduction
I’m Jenny Choate the Communications Coordinator at Cody High School for the 2013-2014 service year. This page is something that is very special to me. This is where you as a reader will get the chance to read more personal stories from the corps members. This page will give you more incite to the human aspect of being a corps member.
During training everyone is asked to write a leadership mission statement. This was mine:
“As a leader I strive to demonstrate the need for a more open and connected world, a world where we can recognize the value in our humanity and the humanity of others. I will seek out the stories of others and use my voice to share the stories that need to be heard.”
This page is one of the ways I am realizing my mission. Thank you for taking the time to read our stories.
Building Bridges to Success
This year has brought me many amazing opportunities to meet remarkable young people: the students of Cody Complex, particularly Medicine and Community Health. Coming in the first day of school and not knowing what to expect was a little unnerving, if I’m completely honest, but getting to know the students has been the best part of this City Year for me. They come from a wide range of situations; joys, pains, loss, love, laughter and pride, each is unique in their own right and each is writing their own remarkable story day by day. Being allowed to be in their lives has touched, taught and challenged me day in and day out. Going to fieldtrips, dances and games, hanging in the lunch room, or even just going for a “talk and walk” around the hallways has allowed me insight into them that many do not get to see. One of the best memories I have so far of my students was the trip we took to the Boys and Girls Club on Thurs. Feb. 27. Watching them able to just have fun, be silly and simply just be kids was a humbling experience. Students that previously had been difficult for me to interact with were opening up, showing their real selves and invited me to join them in their fun. From yoga to Zumba the day was packed with laughter and happiness all around.
There has been some difficult days too though and the biggest thing my kids taught me this year is forgiveness and to not judge any incident/behavior/action as a definition of who they truly are. A lot of our students are struggling with things outside the home that most young people their age will never encounter let alone encounter at their age. A lot of them have more responsibilities than many people my age and yet day in and day out they fight to succeed. These kids are some of the strongest people I’ve ever met and just need a little guidance and mentoring on how to control emotions and responses to situations out of their control. “Respect” has been a constant theme this year. I have come to see that many of them have never been truly shown what real respect looks like; for themselves, for each other and for the adults in their lives. The biggest thing I’ve had to stress this year is that every person in this school cares about them or they wouldn’t be there. Many of our students are frustrated and hurting and are trying to find outlets but are struggling to find the appropriate ones. Listening to some of the stories has been hard especially when there appears no “fix” but we have to remind ourselves that just being there to listen, to hug and to love them, is sometimes all it takes. There have been times when I wanted to throw my hands up but didn’t and in the end was rewarded by being allowed to see more of who the student is behind the behaviors and attitudes and resulted in some of the strongest bonds I’ve made this year. It will be hard to leave when this City Year ends but I’ve promised, and make every intention of keeping said promise, to come back to see each and every one of them make it to their graduation and walk proudly across the stage to receive their hard earned diploma.
-Evette Dziedzic, Behavior Co-Coordinator