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Join us each month as City Year corps members from the Case Foundation-sponsored Simon Elementary School team share their experiences and lessons learned as they advance the Whole School, Whole Child service program. Below is an update from City Year DC (CYDC) Corps Member, Robin Alvarado as she reflects on the impact she has made through this unique service program.
Robin Alvarado is eighteen years old and from Burlington, North Carolina. She graduated high school this past May and plans on attending Kennesaw State University in Georgia this upcoming fall.
Inspiration is the reason why you whole heartedly do things or believe in a certain idea. Inspiration is something not everyone experiences, and it’s possible to go through life uninspired, but influenced by others and society. People can confuse the two, but they are both very different. Inspiration is something you build your life around, and it changes your life and molds you as a person. My life has been inspired by my family, and everything I do can relate back to them. I am inspired to enter the field of social work, so that I can help children and teens live out their dreams. My dream has already started through the service I do with City Year at Simon Elementary School.
At Simon Elementary I serve in a fourth grade classroom, tutoring students in literacy in small groups and one-on-ones. I also co-organize and run an after school program called Young Ladies of Virtue (YLOV), a step/dance team that was established by a City Year corps member the year before me. In YLOV we not only teach steps and dances, but this program allows us to develop a mentoring relationship with the girls. We talk to them about respect for themselves and other issues that affect young girls today. Since the start of the year I have seen a difference in the girls’ attitudes in and outside of class, as they have not only gained more respect for themselves but for others. Behavior is still an everyday struggle at our school, but girls from YLOV that were constantly fighting at the beginning of the year do not fight as much anymore, and continue to improve each day.
This year we are trying to establish a solid foundation for YLOV. We were able to get the girls uniforms through an adoption sponsorship fundraiser, and there are multiple City Year events that we are hoping to get them to perform in. We have put a lot of effort into YLOV, and it has been well worth it. Not only do I believe this program gives a lot to the girls, it has also allowed me to start accomplishing my dream of inspiring children and teenagers to achieve their aspirations. I talk to the girls all the time about what they want to do in life and how I’m going to college, and the importance of education and respect. I hope that YLOV, myself and my teammates can be a source of inspiration for them and their future. I have great hopes for what YLOV will continue to accomplish for the girls at Simon Elementary.