MANCHESTER, NH – Like many recent college graduates, Dereion Stalling was looking for an alternative to jumping right into work and career. The 19-year-old Texas native has a degree in English from the University of Arizona, and she intended to pursue teaching, but not before gaining some real world classroom experience.
“I decided to find a service opportunity that would allow me to serve a community, but I also wanted to focus on education,” Dereion said. “City Year combines all the things I was looking for.”
City Year corps members work in six of Manchester’s elementary schools – Bakersville, Beech Street, Gossler Park, McDonough, Parker-Varney and Wilson – providing support and mentorship to students. They work closely with children in academic subjects such as math, reading and writing, as well as encouraging attendance and social or emotional learning.
“Our purpose is to be that extra set of hands in the classroom, helping with overall classroom community building,” said Dereion. “I can see that my work is truly affecting students’ education, and more important, their lives.”
City Year’s value to our schools isn’t lost on administrators and teachers.
“Their days start at 7:45 a.m., and they greet the children every morning with high fives and smiles. They don’t leave school until 5:30 p.m. They attend every school event, days and nights,” said Gossler Park principal Lori Upham. “There is nothing our corps members won’t do to help make our school better!”
A City Year corps member’s initial commitment to a school is for one year. Dereion hasn’t decided if she’ll stay in Manchester and be a team leader or seek out a City Year opportunity in another city. “My experience here has been extraordinary and rewarding.”
If you are interested in exploring an alternative to college right out of high school (you must be 18), or if you have earned your degree (and are under age 24) and would like to expand your scope of experience, AmeriCorps applications are currently being accepted for upcoming programs. Click here to learn more about the various program opportunities, including monetary awards earned through your year of service, which you can use to pay for schooling or pay off student debt.