A Day in the Life of……… by Herby Jeanty
Often times we find ourselves taking unpredicted and different paths that we did not plan and it feels like a setback. In my experiences, I use these different and unpredictable paths as a learning experience. I am an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at New York cares as a Student Academic Success Associate. Although, I do not have a background in education, I choose to serve because I sincerely enjoy helping people reach their potential. In fact, one of my long term goals is going to medical school to become a doctor after my year of service. Prior to joining New York Cares I was a New York Civic Corps member working at a charter school called Achievement First whose sole mission is to provide an alternative process for education to close the achievement gap in low-income communities. The knowledge and experience that I’ve gained working at the charter school equipped me well enough to be a Student Academic Associate at New York Cares. New York Cares is the premier volunteer management organization in New York City, which uses a team-based volunteering model to help meet the pressing needs of the city through partnerships with profit and non-profit organizations and agencies.
This past year, I was able to start three new programs outlined in our VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) in the schools that was selected in New York Cares School Success Initiative. The School Success Initiative is an intensive partnership with schools in low-income communities that allows us to develop and implement programs that specifically meet the needs of the school and community. For example, I started an ESL project at one of partnered elementary school PS 20 Q, whose student body comprised of Mandarin speaking families, for students aimed to, enhanced their English proficiency and improved their self-confidence. In fact, I was able to recruit a team leader for this project who used to be an ESL student and wanted to support this program. Secondly, I started two new programs at PS 196 K aimed to support elementary students in understanding and producing quality homework. All of these programs are free of charge to the schools and this aspect enables the school to improve student academic performance without worrying about funding. Lastly, teachers and students truly enjoy these programs, especially the students who enjoy the one on one attention that they receive from our volunteers.
Honestly, I did not plan to become a New York Civic Corp nor an AmeriCorps VISTA member. However, I realize that no matter the profession that we choose to do, we always will be working with or for other people. I often forget the importance of people around me. I firmly believe that if we all work towards improving the lives of others we will be able to create better opportunities and a thriving society that works for the benefit of all people and not for some people. In this process, I believe that you become someone beyond the scope of your own imaginations and limitations. Education does not only reside in the classroom, people are not one dimensional and helping people is a multi-dimensional process that is not fixated on one profession or capabilities. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with New York Cares to build upon and validate that level of thinking. A Day in the Life of being an AmeriCorps VISTA!
New York Cares