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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) Corp Member, Corey Townsend as he reflects on the impact he has made through this unique service program.
Corey is a native of Kingston, Jamaica and came to the United States in the late 90's. Hs is a recent graduate of Cleveland State University with a degree in communications as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In the fall of 2009 he left his home in Ohio to embark on a year of service with City Year Washington, DC.
Picture it, Simon Elementary School, where seven young leaders take on the challenge of improving the community by engaging in service and creating a positive school climate for the students. These seven were hand-picked and agreed to take on such a momentous challenge. Draped in their Red City Year jackets they go out to impact the community with their positive can-do attitudes and passion for service. Every morning at 8 a.m. they show up at Simon Elementary, fired up for a day of fulfilling service....
My name is Corey Townsend and I am currently one of the seven young leaders at Simon. We are not here to change the world but to impact as many children as we can. Many of our students have behavior issues that we work to improve through tutoring, mentoring, and coaching. One of my students, let's call him Student X, had a bad attitude and work ethic. After a couple months of one-on-one tutoring with him and hours of counseling, he has learned to focus and be calm in certain situations. Student X has even improved in his test scores with the DC BAS and has moved up a skill level!
As a team we have also implemented "50 Acts of Leadership" lunch clubs. During each club the students discuss what it means to be a leader, and each student has a goal of reaching "50 acts" of leadership - acts where they help, support, or are nice to someone. They log their acts into their book and we approve it. We have a poster that tracks how many acts of leadership each team of students has completed and with each poster, there are different prizes listed for each student once they reach their goal of 50. The students are excited and the goals give them something to work toward.
Everything is not always smooth sailing for me and my team, but we persevere through these challenges. How do I know? We have implemented many ways to combat the issues we face on a day to day basis and have all made the commitment to the students and each other to serve.
For the last 11 years, we at the Case Foundation have been a proud sponsor of CYDC. The organization is a leader in using service as a solution to address national problems while uniting young people for a full-time year of service in order to support schools and communities across the country.