City Year, which is part of AmeriCorp, is a non-profit educational organization. The program operates at over 200 schools in over 20 cities in the United States, as well as in two international sites in London and South Africa. City Year’s goal is to ensure that 80 percent of the students in the schools that City Year serves reach 10th grade on time and to serve the majority of at-risk students in each location. City Year will focus that service in the communities where the dropout challenge is most concentrated, ultimately serving in the cities that account for two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts.

City Year hires young people from the ages of 17 to 24 because City Year’s founders truly believe that young people from all different educational, social, economic, and cultural backgrounds can change the world together in a diverse corp. This way, corp members can learn from each other and best help the students they serve. City Year corps members are recent high school graduates and some may have a Masters degree.

City Year corps members work as tutors, mentors, and leaders in some of the most under served schools in the country. They focus on what is known as the ABC’s: Attendance, Behavior and Course work, specifically in Mathematics and English.

City Year works in public schools with students between third and ninth grade. Their reason for focusing on this grade range of student is “to provide a continuum of care and to saturate feeder patterns so that students who need help receive multiple years of interventions and support. Our Long-Term Impact strategy will ensure students have an opportunity to improve their performance that couldn’t be achieved by focusing on a single grade or single intervention alone,” according to City Year’s website.

Some people assume that serving with an organization like City Year means that you want to become a teacher or go into education. This is not always true, and City Year alumni go into various professional fields, are education and non-profit professions, being among the most common. Other think people choose to do this program just because they want a gap year program.

As a confirmed corps member for 2013-14, I can say this is not why I will be serving with City Year. I chose to do City Year, because I believe in everything that it stands for. I believe that although we may not necessarily be able to fix the policy cracks and holes and hundred of other issues that plague the American education system, we can do our best to help make sure less students fall through those holes and cracks and are able to stay on track to graduate on time and in the end have brighter futures — for them and those to follow. And I want to be part of the people willing to help guide them there.

Along with serving for a great cause there are many benefits that you receive as a corps member with City Year. You receive a living stipend based on the cost of living for where you serve, basic health insurance, your uniform, and other great benefits. Upon completing 1,700 service hours you are eligible for a $5,550 educational scholarship. City Year also has a partnership with several universities and colleges around the country that offer tuition discounts of some kind to City Year alumni. These schools includes the Warner School of Education right here at UR.

There is still time to apply to City Year to serve for the 2013-14 school, the final deadline is Tuesday, April 30. To learn more about City Year, all that they do, start your application, and “make better happen,” go to today.

Watson is a member of the class of 2013 and the City Year Campus Recruitment Ambassador.

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