Letting Go

These 10 months have been an exhilarating ride, filled with indescribable highs and a few devastating lows. The changing altitude has left me breathless, and as the last few weeks of service are approaching, it is almost time to catch my breath and gaze back at what I have accomplished.

The knowledge that I have 10 mere days to spend with my class before we part ways forever brings me to my knees. Saying goodbye to my 20 high school freshmen—students I have tutored, mentored, defended, supported, loved with all of my heart—will be the greatest challenge of this immensely challenging year. I now see with intense clarity how fleeting my entrance into my students’ lives has been. I first met them not 9 months ago, and now that they finally trust me completely, I am leaving. My kids will still face the same barriers, both in and out of school, that I spent a year trying to help them overcome. And until thousands more volunteers devote part of their lives to changing the lives of others, these obstacles will still impose upon millions of kids across America.

Still, I will go to Boston University next year and begin my studies as a Sociology & Political Science major. I hope to continue fighting for the right to a proper education. Besides, I’m not saying goodbye to my students forever. I promised them I will be back in Columbus in May 2017, just in time for their high school graduation.

— Micah Baum, First Year Corps Member, the Chase Team at Mifflin High School


Survival Kit

Hey Corps Members! How you feelin’?

At this point, those of you reading this probably half-heartedly mumbled “fired up” while you rubbed your hands together for warmth.

It’s February. It’s cold. You’re tired. Maybe you just got interim grades that were not particularly inspiring. 6:45 seems earlier and earlier in the morning each time the alarm goes off. I get it. Believe me, I do!

But as a second year corps member, I am here to tell you, promise you, that it is going to get better. You may be suffering from a seasonal disorder known as the City Year Flu (Which is occasionally accompanied by an actual flu. Feel better, guys.), but all is not lost! Here are the eight things you need to survive the winter doldrums.

1. Marbles
photo by Sahlan Hayes

Some people are going to accuse you of having lost them. Prove them wrong no matter what by keeping them on you at all times!

2. Vitamin D
photo by Changing for Health

On a serious note, we really don’t see the sun that much. It hasn’t woken up yet when we head to service, and then we kind of wave at it on the drive home. It’s important to remember that being in the dark really does affect your mood, and take steps to stay healthy.
3. Stickers
photo by Amy Dell

These are a reminder to stick to your goals. They’re also fun. Seriously, put an Angry Birds sticker on your Check-In/Check-Out tracker when a student met the weekly goal and they’ll go nuts.

4. Tea
product from FoodBeast

I am not a coffee drinker, but I am a huge advocate for tea. It tastes great, comes in all different flavors and is great for sore throats and your mood!

5. An Eraser
photo by Kalin Plante
To wipe away your mistakes.

6. White out
Because let’s be honest, sometimes you make the above mistakes in pen and an eraser won’t cut it.
7. Something to look forward to.
photo by Kid President
Expecting a gift or being excited for something has a positive effect on your mood. Don’t have your boots yet? They’re coming! It’ll be like a present!

8. Tissues
photo by Peaceful Parent
Keep these on hand to wipe away your students’ tears.

Or yours.

… Mostly yours.
-Mirria Martin, second year corps member at Mifflin HIgh School

Mifflin High School 101


Hey Punchers, we touch the ground…

A lot of people have the wrong idea about Mifflin. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it should be a City Year school at all. The school pops up suddenly in a very nice, very quiet suburb. A high-end shopping center sits just around the corner. The building itself is outdated, but nothing garners immediate attention.

Of course, all of us at CYCO have figured out that things are more complicated with MHS than the neighborhood it’s in. Part of City Year’s mission has been to engage the community with their school, forming partnerships and spreading the word.

We bring it back up and break it down…

Our school has a culture that is so unique. Our Diplomas Now team was immediately welcomed as staff with warmth and appreciation into the school. The principal engages with the students on a very personal level, and the idea of the school as a family is pushed very strongly.

The fact that our students travel long distances to get to Mifflin presents unique challenges, but our team has still seen great success with our large-scale afterschool events. We have also seen great data come out of our turnaround, with 89% of our freshman promoting to their sophomore year on track and on time last year. This year our goal is for that number to reach 95%, and our team believes we can achieve that and more.

We stretch (whoo). We stretch! (whoo!)

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Come by Mifflin High School anytime and see it for yourself. Our next event, College Night, is on November 22nd. This event will feature two exciting parts. The night begins with our College Fair, beginning at 4:30pm. More than 12 universities will be present, as well as representatives specializing in admissions, college essays, and financial aid. This fun and informative event will be followed by our second annual Step Show, with community and university step teams performing and pushing the importance of education. The step show will begin at 6pm. Join us, check out the Punchers, and maybe get some information for your LACY, too!

– Mirria Martin, second year corps member of the Chase Team at Mifflin High School