The Dawning of a New Corps: City Year Chicago 2010-2011 Corps Kickoff

Jasmyne Griffith left her Hyde Park apartment early Wednesday morning. She was blurry-eyed, but excited. She journeyed from Chicago’s South Side to the West Side, taking the bus to Red Line and then hopping on the Green. Jasmyne finally made it to her stop and then proceeded to walk six blocks – in the rain – to Chicago Talent Development Charter High School.

“I’m ready,” Jasmyne said. “I’ve been waiting all summer to start. Let’s do this.”

Jasmyne Griffith is a corps member for City Year Chicago for the 2010-2011 corps year, and she wasn’t alone in her trek to the West Side for the Corps Kickoff – a physical service day that introduces our incoming corps to the service and culture of City Year – she took the commute and completed the service alongside 125 individuals ready to begin their City Year .

This year, Jasmyne, her fellow corps members, as well as senior corps members and staff, took part in a service day that benefited one of our important school partnerships, Chicago Talent Development Charter High School. The school recently moved into a building that needed serious painting and beautification – and fast. The school was starting classes on Thursday – City Year Chicago was set to paint on Wednesday.

Daniel Ready, Civic Engagement team leader, spent over a month working with his team to plan and prepare for the big day.

“We’re going to do some sustainable, changing service to get everyone ready to go,” Ready said as he talked to corps members in front of the then white City Year logo in that was traced onto the wall of the City Year room at Chicago Talent Development Charter High School. The logo, begging for some red, yellow and black, was expertly painted throughout the day.

Anticipation and participation were the words for the day as many corps members and senior corps members echoed Jasmyne’s eagerness to get the year started.

“I’m so ready to meet the new corps members, do some great service and get the year started with a bang,” Justin Apuli, senior corps member, said.

Justin is a first year senior corps member at City Year Chicago .  He’ll be leading a team at Manley Career Academy High School in the North Lawndale community.

Corps member Phil Horn said he was ready for Corp Kickoff because he wanted to meet new people, and, in great City Year fashion, Horn proclaimed is excitement for service.

“I’m also super excited to paint…duh.”

VIP’s for Halloween–Montage Monday!

City Year Chicago's Diplomas Now Team, by Chris McGuire

When the students at Chicago Talent Development Charter High School demonstrate exemplary attendance, they prove that they are very important to City Year. To reward them for coming to school every day and on time, the City Year Diplomas Now team treats these students to some great food and fun by transforming their “City Year Room” into a VIP Lounge.

Located on Chicago’s West Garfield Park community, the students of Chicago Talent enjoy food and drinks that City Year collects from local businesses. City Year not only brings the food, but they also bring some fun, with special Halloween look and feel to make their classroom spooky and special for the VIP’s that have earned the privilege to dine.

Click on the photo to view City Year Chicago’s latest Monday Montage… Chicago Talent’s VIP Lounge!

Watch the Monday's VIP Lounge Montage

 

Corps Profile: Alexis Sanchez, Leadership Development Project Leader

Alexis served as a corps member in 09-10. Here she is working at one of CYCHI's large scale service days helping beautify a local community organization. Alexis Sanchez is serving her second year at CYCHI. She is the Leadership Development Project Leader.

Senior corps member Alexis Sanchez made her way to City Year Chicago by way of Miami, by way of New York.  From the Northeast to South Florida to the Midwest, Alexis brings her experience to her service everyday as the Leadership Development Project Leader, a brand new senior corps position here at City Year Chicago .

Sanchez was a corps member last year on the Diploma’s Now team serving at Chicago Talent Development Charter High School. It was the first for the school and it was the first year for City Year’s partnership with Talent Development and Communities in Schools.

“Half way through the year our team introduced the coordinator roles and I was the Attendance Coordinator so I was responsible for our VIP Lounge and coming up with new initiatives for good attendance,” Sanchez said.

The trainings Sanchez received as a corps member in a pilot school last year are helping her with her position now, as she provides training and guidance for the new corps who are all working with the coordinator roles this year.

“My team piloted almost all of what is happening now in terms of our service model so I certainly provide some support in that I’ve done it before and can tell you what’s like,” Sanchez said. “For instance, morning greeting is something that corps members do in the morning for our students and not all of the students are going to express as much excitement as you. I’ve seen that and I can tell corps members how to handle that and understand that students think some things are cheesy just because they didn’t want to express that they liked it.”

As the Leadership Development Project Leader, Alexis said she’ll provide more perspective as to what is realistic to expect from students and corps members.  She works closely with the Whole School, Whole Child Project Leader, Katherine Liao, and Kelly Witt, Training Manager, here at City Year Chicago to further develop projects for school-based teams and cultivates various components of the Whole School, Whole Child service model.

“The metaphor we use on the team is Katherine and Kelly carry an idea for 10 miles and they exhaust all of their resources and then they pass it on to me and I carry for next 10 miles,” Sanchez said. “So, by the end, we’ve sort of stretched and strengthened this idea or project until we feel it is ready to deliver to the corps.”

Alexis is also the Leadership After City Year (LACY) point person at CYCHI. She had her first event last week, an undergraduate/graduate school fair and workshop session. Featured at the event were “give a year Partners”  Illinois Institute of Technology and Brandeis University.

The work Alexis does is often times behind the scene, but that’s how she likes it. In fact, her motivation for continuing on at City Year Chicago is directly tied to a humble idea of service.

“I try my best and even though what I do is minute in the grand scale of things, I know that what I’m contributing to the overarching goal of City Year ,” Sanchez said. “And I’m happy with that.”

Principal Bernina Norton is FIRED UP about City Year!

Bernina Norton, Principal of CTDCHS

Ms. Bernina Norton, the new principal for Chicago Talent Development Charter High School, talks about her passion for City Year and her appreciation for the physical service City Year Chicago corps members provided for their new facility.

City Year Chicago and Talent Development are in the second year of their partnership.

Hear how “Fired Up” Ms Norton is about City Year Chicago’s service with Chicago Talent Development Charter High School!

The Dawning of a New Corps: City Year Chicago 2010-2011 Corps Kickoff

Jason Dones leaves City Year's mark on Chicago Talent High School.

Jasmyne Griffith left her Hyde Park apartment early Wednesday morning. She was blurry-eyed, but excited. She journeyed from Chicago’s South Side to the West Side, taking the bus to the Red Line and then hopping on the Green. Jasmyne finally made it to her stop and then proceeded to walk six blocks – in the rain – to Chicago Talent Development Charter High School.

“I’m ready,” Jasmyne said. “I’ve been waiting all summer to start. Let’s do this.”

Jasmyne (center) and her team take a painting break to pose for a photo.

Jasmyne Griffith is a corps member for City Year Chicago for the 2010-2011 corps year, and she wasn’t alone in her trek to the West Side for the Corps Kickoff – a physical service day that introduces our incoming corps to the service and culture of City Year – she took the commute and completed the service alongside 125 individuals ready to begin their City Year.

This year, Jasmyne, her fellow corps members, as well as senior corps members and staff, took part in a service day that benefited one of our important school partnerships, Chicago Talent Development Charter High School. The school recently moved into a building that needed serious painting and beautification – and fast. The school was starting classes on Thursday –City Year Chicago was set to paint on Wednesday.

Daniel Ready watches over service supplies.

Daniel Ready, Civic Engagement team leader, spent over a month working with his team to plan and prepare for the big day.

“We’re going to do some sustainable, changing service to get everyone ready to go,” Ready said as he talked to corps members in front of the then white City Year logo that was traced onto the wall of the City Year room at Chicago Talent Development Charter High School. The logo, begging for some red, yellow and black, was expertly painted throughout the day.

Anticipation and participation were the words for the day as many corps members and senior corps members echoed Jasmyne’s eagerness to get the year started.

Justin Apuli gives a classroom a fresh coat of paint!

“I’m so ready to meet the new corps members, do some great service and get the year started with a bang,” Justin Apuli, senior corps member, said.

Justin is a first year senior corps member at City Year Chicago .  He’ll be leading a team at Manley Career Academy High School in the North Lawndale community.

Corps member Phil Horn said he was ready for Corp Kickoff because he wanted to meet new people, and, in great City Year fashion, Horn proclaimed is excitement for service.

“I’m also super excited to paint…duh.”

City Year Chicago Showcases National Service to Civic Leader

Kristen Strobbe, Project Leader in External Relations

City Year stands proud as one of the leading organizations in the national service movement. Here at City Year Chicago that means connecting with the civic leaders who support our work.

We’ve got Illinois State Senator Dick Durbin.

Lexi Saudargas, legislative assistant to Senator Durbin, sat down with three City Year corps members to discuss their experience with City Year and why taking part in the national service movement means so much to them.

Diesha Williams is a Senior Corps Member working her second year at City Year Chicago. She will lead a team of corps members at Chicago Talent Development High School. A unique high school that combines three organizations, City Year, Communities in Schools and Talent Development, in an effort to address all the needs of their student

Diesha said that her passion for national service will carry on to her leadership after City Year.

“As a lawyer I really want to give back to my community and do what I can to help young people succeed,” she said.

National service organizations can’t succeed by working alone. Much like Talent Development and Communities in Schools, City Year thrives on the partnerships we develop. Here at City Year Chicago we work closely with the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL), an education group that focuses on turning around underperforming schools. City Year teams serve in AUSL schools.

Ms. Saudargas got a glimpse of the work we do here at  City Year. Through the stories of our corps members and their relationships with Talent Development, Communities in Schools and AUSL,  City Year Chicago continues to raise awareness about the power of national service.

Meet Principal Lemon, from Chicago Talent Development High School

Principal Lemon from CTDHS

Principal Lemon from CTDHS

This year, City Year Chicago joined the City Year sites that implemented a powerful new partnership called Diplomas Now. Diplomas Now is an innovative school turnaround model that unites three experienced non-profit organizations – City Year, Communities In Schools, and Talent Development – to work with the nation’s most challenged middle and high schools to deliver the right interventions to the right students at the right time.

Early results indicate the collaboration’s success. Early in 2010, City Year Chicago interviewed Ms. Lemon, principal at Chicago’s Diplomas Now school, Chicago Talent Development High School, where a team of City Year corps members keep 9th graders in school and on track.