By: Christine Olding
The blog has allowed you, as readers, to get a glimpse into our lives as City Year Corps members. We have told a multitude of stories concerning our daily lives as mentors and what it truly means to be a City Year. However, for this week, I decided to let you, as readers, to get a glimpse of what City Year is through the eyes of a child. For the purposes of confidentiality all names of students have been changed but the stories are truthful. This is what City Year is through one of the student’s eyes.
I get on the bus and head to school. A ride I dread every day because the kids on the bus make fun of how run down my house is. I know they don’t come from a better place but it still hurts me. When I step off the bus I can’t help but still feel upset for what has been said to me. I try to not let it ruin my day, but it’s hard when it happens every day. I walk the cold, gray pavement to the side entrance of my school. “Good Morning! I’m glad you’re here! Have a good day!” Miss Christine greets me like she does every morning. I don’t tell her but her greeting and smile is one of the only constants in my life. I go inside and line up for breakfast. I grab my tray and load it up with pre-packaged pancakes, a carton of milk, a carton of apple juice and an orange. I head to class and eat my breakfast quickly so I can get a start on my morning work.
I look at the clock, 9:15, only fifteen more minutes until Miss Christine takes me for my morning tutoring. At first, I was embarrassed to be taken, realizing that the other kids knew what she was doing but to be honest, I look forward to our daily forty minute meetings which allow me to escape the realities of class. I feel a slight tap on my shoulder; I look up and spot Miss Christine. “Are you ready, Paul?” I nod to her and grab my pencil out of my desk. She looks over at my teacher and smiles. We walk down the hall trying to find an empty room, the City Year office is the only one available. We sit down and she asks me how my morning has been. I tell her how the kids on my bus make fun of my house and how I try not to let it bring me down but that it still upsets me. “Well, are you happy with your house?” she asks. “Yeah, at least I have a house.” “Then that is all that matters. As long as you are happy with it and you are happy with you then that is all that matters.” I smile at her and she smiles back. “Are you ready to do some tutoring?!?!” I nod and she hands me my notebook and workbook. She says it doesn’t matter how far I get as long as I am trying my best. Once our forty minutes is up we pack up and head back to class.
Lunch time has finally arrived. I, once again, get in line and grab my tray. I choose my lunch; today I decided to go with the chicken nuggets. We sit in silence for our twenty minute lunch period. Once the bell rings we head out to recess. I spot Miss Christine and Mr. Jay awaiting our arrival. I go over and grab a basketball. “Are you having a better day?” Miss Christine asks. “Yeah, I guess so.” I respond, as I go to make my next shot. The recess bell rings and I go back inside. Only two more hours until I get to go to after-school.
The final bell rings and I head to the room where all the other Starfish meet for after-school. Miss Christine and Miss Hannah come in. Miss Christine gives her normal talk about attendance and about why we must wash our hands. We go to the classroom and they pass out our snacks, mini corn dogs, star potatoes, an apple and chocolate milk. After we eat and do our homework we have free time, because it’s Tuesday. They take us to the gym and give us the option to go to the library to draw. I choose to stay in the gym to play basketball. I find some of my friends and we play a game together. This is my favorite part of the day because City Year allows me to be me for at least a little bit each and every day.
Though, this is a mixture of differing students stories, I felt that it was necessary to express to you, as readers, exactly what a typical day is like in through the eyes of one of our students. It is my hope that for a spilt second you were able to understand their struggles and realities.