Greetings readers from Parker-Varney Elementary! My name is Jonathan Kirsch, a proud corps member serving on the Parker-Varney Team co-sponsored by Darthmouth Hitchcock and TJX Companies Inc., and I have been having the time of my life at City Year so far. My team and I agree that serving with City Year is one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve ever had.
Most of our rewards, of course, come from watching our students grow, learn and play in and out of the classroom. This is an especially exciting time for us at Parker-Varney because this past Wednesday, November 7, we began Starfish Corps. Starfish Corps is a free afterschool program run by City Year that focuses on providing homework help, educational enrichment, as well as leadership and service opportunities to students. So far we have 34 students enrolled for the year, and even more applicants, due to the success of our promotional video which is featured below.
Designing an after school program isn’t easy, but after weeks of hard work, our team is pretty much done crafting our lesson plans. The content of our program is comprised of four major units: Peace, Needs & Wants, The Environment, and Healthy Choices. In addition to that, the first six weeks are dedicated to Starfish Corps Basic Training Academy, or BTA, which is designed to mirror City Year’s BTA. This formative training is the bedrock of a successful corps, for it allows students to be immersed in the rich culture that makes City Year so enjoyable.
Complete with our own specialized Physical Training regimen, Starfish Corps will be our chance to imbue students with the values of service and idealism, and enable them to be the catalyst for future progress. The service projects we do, and the lessons we teach, will allow students to make a positive difference in the world, one class at a time. For example, I’m thrilled to be teaching them about the environment, which I consider to be one of the most important issues facing the world today. With our instruction, they’ll be ready to live as responsible stewards of our planet, and learn to cooperate with everyone who lives here. I’m really looking forward to working with students beyond the school day, and having more time to teach them strategies to master the material with our homework help sessions.
I am confident the program will be a hit among the kids, and my teammates are especially thrilled to see it come together. The enthusiasm is palpable and growing every day. If the past couple months have been any indication, it will be an astounding success.