AmeriCorps week "Why I Serve”
The city of Columbus holds a very special place in my heart because it is the city that welcomed me and my immigrant parents a little over twenty years ago. I serve because nothing is more rewarding than having the opportunity to serve the community and schools that once served me. City Year has presented me with the opportunity to do just that in the most humble and rewarding way possible.
Growing up, I went to schools located in high-poverty areas of Columbus and was always aware of the lack of human and material resources. I wasn’t labeled as an off-track or at-risk student but the circumstances to fall into those categories were certainly present.
Fortunately, with the individualized help of teachers and mentors I was admitted into The Ohio State University. Today I serve as that mentor to my students, helping to bridge any educational gaps in hopes that college is in their near future. One thing that got me interested in City Year is the unique approach used to achieve the ultimate goal of bridging educational gaps in high-poverty communities.
The one-on-one approach has been essential in my attempts of reaching this goal. Giving my students the individualized attention they need has been crucial in developing genuine relationships and showing them that I support their success. Some of my most proud moments include listening to my students’ aspirations: I have future poets, artists, athletes, and presidents under my wings. I serve so that these aspirations become their realities. I value their experiences and have learned so much from them in the process. Today, I serve for my students. I serve so that they’re not yet another statistic. I serve so that one day they too may serve.
In honor of AmeriCorps week I asked some of my teammates why they serve and received overwhelming responses:
“Every student deserves to have someone champion for them, to be in their corner and urge them to seek and discover.” –Norma Garcia
“Just to know that they really and truly appreciate me means everything.” –Alicia Jefferson
“I serve because I believe that no student should feel alone in the classroom, at school or in their life in general.” –Sam Heyman
By Bethlehem Aderajew, Corps Member at Mifflin High School