An interview with a City Year participant.

April 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Before I post the interview, I want to share an article I found through the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The article is from the Fall 2009 issue of Occupational Outlook Quarterly.  I think this is a very valuable article because it helps the reader consider pros and cons of taking a gap year.  It also provides really good advice such as: if considering graduate school, take the GRE before leaving undergraduate studies, apply to grad programs, get accepted, then ask for a 1-year deferment.  The last two pages offer great resources to look at when considering a gap year.

The article above mentions the AmeriCorps program City Year.  To segue into the interview, City Year is a program that gives young people the opportunity to work full-time in schools and neighborhoods across the country to tutor, mentor, and be role-models for students.  Jeffrey Sierra, 23, is a Philadelphia University 2010 graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology.  In the following interview, Jeffrey explains what he does and why he chose to serve his time after college with City Year.

Jeffrey Sierra at his May 16, 2010 graduation in Philadelphia, PA (photo on left).  Jeffrey Sierra     with the Bakersville Whole School Whole Child City Year New Hampshire Team (photo above).

Describe what you are doing during your gap year (where you are, what you’re doing):

During my gap year I am serving for ten months with an Americorps program called City Year. I am serving at the New Hampshire site. City Year New Hampshire is partnered with five elementary schools in Manchester, NH. There is also a weekend service program called Young Heroes that engages middle school aged youth in relevant social issues.

I serve Monday through Friday in a third grade classroom. I support my students with their academics during the day, I assist them with homework help after school, and I also run a cooking enrichment class once a week.

Why did you choose City Year?

I chose City Year because I did not want to pursue a graduate degree right after my senior year at Philadelphia University. I applied first to the Peace Corps, but was not a competitive enough applicant. Wanting to give a year back, I decided to turn my attention from international service to domestic service. I applied to a few Americorps programs but after being contacted by City Year New Hampshire’s recruitment director, I felt City Year would be the best fit for me.

Why did you want to take time to do this?

I wanted to take the time to give back because I feel it’s the right thing to do. I’ve found since working with City Year that I receive such a simple joy by being able to serve my students in class and see them overcome their difficulties.

How do you get funds for living expenses? Do you get paid or receive a stipend?

I receive a stipend to cover most of my living expenses. I also qualify for government assistance in the form of food stamps and that helps out immensely.

Do you have to pay fees to be involved in City Year?

No, there are no fees associated with City Year.

What is a memorable experience you have had so far?

My most memorable experience has been making gingerbread houses with my students right before their December break. It was so much fun seeing my students shine in a different way. Their creativity and energy was very inspiring.


Entry filed under: Interview, Research.

The Bureau for Labor Statistics is keeping an eye on us…. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time

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