City Year volunteers commit to local students
14th October 2013 · 0 Comments
By Nayita Wilson
Over the next 10 months, a fresh cohort of City Year New Orleans / AmeriCorps members will continue their ongoing work within select local schools by providing additional support to students who are struggling academically.
Forty-two young adults formally pledged to honor this commitment as both City Year and AmeriCorps volunteers during City Year’s Opening Day Program at Samuel J. Green Charter School on Oct. 3.
Through their service, the corps members will work at one of four local schools for the purpose of tutoring students who may be behind as much as two grade levels. In return for the 10-month commitment, each volunteer receives a “poverty stipend” and earns an education award of about $5,000 once the commitment ends.
“We’re excited,” said City Year New Orleans Executive Director Peggy Mendoza.
“We have challenged students. We’re working with strong school partners that just need additional resources. We consider City Year an implementation gap solution,” Mendoza added.
Langston Hughes Academy, Samuel J. Green Charter School, Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School and Arthur Ashe Charter School are all hosting City Year volunteers.
Langston Hughes has partnered with City Year for the last two years, according to the Mark Martin, school director. “When the opportunity was presented, we thought it fit a need to work with kids in small settings. It’s allowed us to close some learning gaps . . . ,”Martin said.
City Year corps member Jennifer Spadaccia, 23, is a New York native and recent graduate of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. She said a career officer at Bard introduced her to the opportunity, which is how she applied, successfully.
Spadaccia is currently assigned to Langston Hughes Academy where she works as an interventionist for students who are struggling with reading, mathematics, literature and sound recognition. She also assists in the classroom and leads an after school drama program for upper grade students.
She is also looking forward to coming into her own through the experience. “I expect to become a lot more independent and to learn a lot about the world beyond the one I know,” she said.
CSX, Entergy, Patrick F. Taylor and City Year are sponsoring volunteer teams at the participating schools.
This article originally published in the October 14, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.