Monday, June 16, 2008

From a Naval Avenue member's reflection on her year of service:

As an Americorps member, I experienced a lot of personal development over the past 10 ½ months. One of the biggest leaps of growth that I made was gaining stronger inner-dialogue. Prior to receiving this type of work I frequently worried about what others thought about me. However, thanks to my experience with Americorps, I worry less, and now I can express myself more confidently than ever before. I realize that being able to share ideas and opinions is a key component to creating a stronger and more effective team. Thus, I believe that I have acquired a more confident demeanor as a result of Americorps experience.

I believe that people who strive to be more confident, patient, or persistent will benefit greatly by joining Americorps. Americorps will not only guarantee personal development, but it will also hand you a grand educational award. Join Americorps and you will be making a wise choice for your future.


From a Naval Avenue member's reflection on his year of service:

When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to do something in my country that allowed me to better understand the effects that poverty had on the education of America’s youth. Almost a year later, I not only have come to understand the depths of the problems we face educating students in low-income communities, but I know that it’s something I want to continue to work toward in the future. In that regard, I can thank AmeriCorps for showing me a path that I want to follow as I aim to mitigate the educational difficulties faced by children and their families in urban areas.
I’ve also come to understand more about myself and how to more successfully work as a leader. Whether it was working with youth or with fellow members, I learned quickly how to convince others how to work their hardest toward a common goal. I learned that each individual requires a different motivating force to push them to do their best. Discovering what those forces were was one of the most enjoyable things about every aspect of our job as AmeriCorps members in this community. The opportunities AmeriCorps has offered for trenchant analysis of my own personality and the personalities of those around me have been some of the most enlightening I’ve had a chance to experience. I feel more capable to tackle the problems in urban education because of my AmeriCorps service, and I’m convinced now more than ever that it’s something we can change in this country.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Winding Down

The following is from a West Hills AmeriCorps member's narrative:

The year is slowly starting to wind down and I am amazed at how fast it has been going! The students seem to be contemplating the end of the school year and as excited as they are for summer vacation, most realize that their day-to-day activities will be different and they are going to miss interacting with us. One of the boys involved in our Civic Engagement project stopped me and another member in the hall on separate occasions and said that he really missed meeting with us on Wednesdays and that he wished he could participate in it again next year. When I told one of my second graders that I wouldn't be at the school next year, he frowned and gave me a big hug. Those moments help me remember why I chose to be here in the first place and I am pleased to be ending my time on such a good note.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chess Club at Naval

This is a member narrative from October:

We have a chess club here at Naval Avenue Elementary. We have 10 students that show up on a regular basis. Eight out of 10 students are 1st graders who have never played chess before. But after just 3 weeks of having chess club 4 days a week, all 8 of my first graders are playing at intermediate level. In just 3 weeks, I am amazed on how fast these 6 & 7 years olds are picking up this game.

Photo credit:

Little Victories

I’ve been spending about 20 minutes a day with a young man with developmental difficulties. He was brought to our school a few months ago when he somehow destroyed a classroom in a fit of rage. At the beginning of our tutoring sessions he showed me he had knowledge of the alphabet but blending was an alien concept to him. After much practice, he is now blending words up to five letters long and even beginning to attempt comprehension questions.