City Year: Next Steps
City Year corps members based in Los Angeles write about their experiences.
As I left the 2010 City Year Los Angeles graduation ceremony, the feeling was bittersweet. It was an amazing moment, completing my senior corps year and walking across the stage with my team. All of our work was finally over and it was time to celebrate.
But despite the elation, there was still something lingering in my mind—my future. I received congratulatory calls from my friends and family back in Michigan, and almost all followed the same pattern: "We're so proud of you! What are you doing next?”
I would cringe every time it was asked. It wasn't that I didn't want the future to come or that I wasn't prepared for it. Quite the contrary, I knew exactly what it was I wanted to do, but was simply waiting on fate to play itself out. This is, of course, a lot to explain in a simple, cordial conversation over the telephone, so the response would always be simple, concise, and incredibly ambiguous:
“Um, you know trying to get a staff position in City Year and if not, like, look for other stuff—maybe move back to Michigan, take the GRE, apply to grad school.” But I digress.
At the time, I was going through the interviewing process at City Year for a position as the Whole School Whole Child Program Manager. I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do, but I was prepared to move on with my life if it didn't work out. I wanted to take what I learned from being a corps member and team leader and apply it to the next level.
I mean, I guess that's the idea overall. Remember what you did and what you witnessed during your time at City Year and apply it to whatever you do in life. That's exactly what I wanted to do. For a year and a half, my life has been City Year. It's been working in the schools and trying to help improve them. I wasn't ready to give that up yet.
Luckily, it worked out and I have been hired as a school-based program manager. I'm very excited to start my work for the upcoming school year and to work closely with the staff that I have been learning from. Wherever I am placed, I am determined to do my best to ensure that City Year has a powerful and profound impact.
Arthur Shtern is a team leader for City Year in Los Angeles.