Written by Aminat Saliu, City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member.
My name is Aminat Saliu and I proudly serve as a Team Leader at South Division High School.
I was born in Nigeria and at the age of three, my parents and I moved to Chicago to be with my grandparents. My first few years were hectic because I had to learn a new language and assimilate to a new country and culture. It was difficult but it has been an awesome journey and I believe it has prepared me for a lot of things that I have experienced thus far. I graduated from Illinois State University in Normal, IL with a major in Political Science. I haven’t officially decided on what I would like to do after City Year however I am considering going back to school get a business degree. I’m pretty talented so I know I will figure something out soon. I am a first generation college graduate and education is a big deal in my family. Whatever I decide to do in the future it will heavily focus on being of service to others.
I heard about City Year at a college fair one of my professors at ISU required my class to attend. I'm glad that he did because at that fair, I was introduced to City Year. We had to do mock interviews and give resumes to at least two recruiters that were in attendance. I knew about City Year from a friend who currently serves in Washington but I didn’t really do any research to see what the work entailed. So, when I met with the Midwest Recruiter, I asked for a follow-up meeting to ask about their year of service, what the job entailed, and the many locations I could serve in. After that meeting the next day, I began my application process and the rest is history.
This past year, I was blessed with the opportunity of spending 10 months being a tutor and mentor to an amazing set of 9th graders. I also had the opportunity of being the after school coordinator Monday through Wednesday and lead a college and career fair at South Division High School. Watching how much my students have grown in their academics and their behavior has made be so proud.
During one of my after school tutoring sessions with a student named Charles*, he told me a little about himself and why his attendance is not as great as he would like it to be. I believe sometimes as adults we get caught up with the age of our students and we don’t take time to think about some of the challenges they have to face and how some of them have to face them alone. He shared with me how he has moved through 7 cities in a span of 4 years because his parents had trouble finding work. He has been working since the age of 13 to help his parents and his younger siblings. Some days, Charles can’t make it to school because he had to work until the early morning. Charles is only one of the many students at South Division who share this same story. They are all motivation for me to keep doing what I do and to continue being of service to people in the future.