City Year is on the frontline of the dropout crisis
by Amber Lyons | Campus News & Opinion Editor
Seattle offers many different support programs for its middle and elementary schoolers. One of them is the nationwide Americorps program City Year. I sat down with one of its corps members, Mona Abbi.
Can you give me a brief summary of what City Year is?
Mona Abbi: City Year recruits those between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four, called corps members, to academically help children and tweens who are underperforming in school. The belief is that young adults placed in underachieving schools will help lower the dropout rate crisis by being the bridge between the students and the school.
Q. What does it mean to you to be a “corp member”?
MA: To me it means once we put on our uniform the year of service starts. The red jacket we wear is a reminder of the commitment we make to Seattle and her children.
Q. How does City Year help Seattle’s youth?
MA: City Year addresses their ABCs for student success – attendance, behavior and course work – through mentoring, tutoring and building community with the parents, faculty, and admin staff. We believe that being in the school as early as possible will help prevent dropping out from even crossing the mind of a high schooler. By addressing these possible issues we can help lower the student dropout rate.
Q. Why did you get involved in City Year?
MA: My first job in Seattle was a nonprofit and I was offered two routes, either go back to school specializing in nonprofit work or joining AmeriCorps to gain nonprofit experience and I chose AmeriCorps. I found City Year with its possibilities for experience and further education. I really connected with what City Year is about. One of my fondest memories is during the City Year annual red jacket ceremony where every new corp member dedicates their red jacket to something that is important to them as a reminder of why they are there. I dedicated my jacket to Somalia, my native country, because even though I was born there I have no memories of the nation, culture or language. I felt disconnected and struggled with my identity; therefore, I wear my jacket to reach out to those that are immigrants and struggle with their identities.
Q. How can Seattle Central students get involved?
MA: I invite students to look at the City Year website and see if it is something they are willing to commit to for a year.