Working with kids day in and day out, one can start to wonder if you are really making any impact. The days tend to blend together and become a blur of joy, frustration, and triumphs. Being able to look beyond the days and see moments that stand out helps make you feel like a difference is being made. One of those days for me was during the Starfish Corps Opening Day at Bakersville Elementary School. Starfish Corps is an afterschool program run by City Year. It serves as a mini-City Year, teaching the kids the culture and ideas of the organization.
During our Opening Day program we practiced with the kids teaching them a short skit to perform and had them write down why they were excited to be in Starfish Corps. The kids were excited and nervous because they would perform and say their statements to their family and other City Year Corps Members who came and joined us in our celebration. For me, thinking back to 5th grade, I couldn’t imagine performing a skit in front of a group of strangers or thinking of a reason why I believe it is important to learn about doing service.
When it came time for the Starfish Corps to perform the skit, it was flawless. Everyone said their lines and performed their acts without missing a beat. That alone could have been enough for me to know I made an impact with this group of kids but once all the kids went up in front of their peers, family and strangers to give the reasons why they serve it really moved me. Some said they joined Starfish Corps because they had older siblings do it last year, or because City Year was cool, but when the kids started to say they wanted to learn more about service and making a difference, that was the moment that stood out in the fast-paced life this City Year Corps Member.
It really made me realize the work I do, we do, does make an impact beyond the classroom on the kids. Working with kids and having them realize that there is a world beyond what they know can have its challenges, but having them recognize that service is important and that they want to make an impact is something that will affect generations to come. Knowing that I had a hand in shaping these opinions makes all the work I do worth it.
-Westleigh Morin, Corps Member at Bakersville Elementary School