As I mentioned previously, City Year is a unique experience. It’s challenging and rewarding. At times, it’s easy to think that it’s just challenging. When I need to be reminded that it’s also rewarding, I know that I can count on others who are going through this unique City Year experience as well. Particularly a Team Leader and particularly a good friend of mine – Deanna.
When I first met Deanna back in August of 2015 and found out she was also from North Carolina, I was excited to have that connection, being that I moved across the country not knowing anyone. It was even cooler finding out that our hometowns were just 25 minutes apart from each other. As Corps Members were assigned their school teams, oddly enough, the two of us were assigned to the same school team and were both assigned to work with the third grade team in English Language Arts. Out of the 84 other Corps Members, it was about as close as two people could work together in City Year. Same City Year site, school team, grade level, and down to the same subject to tutor. With this, we were given opportunities to collaborate, considering that our work was similarly aligned.
As the year progressed, I learned more about Deanna. I learned about what she was interested in, how she spent her time outside of work, and who she was a person through quality time and collaboration. We ran our after-school group together. We were responsible for a program, catering to our 10 third graders, with high quality and effectiveness. We did this by making sure they understood not just the ELA lesson, but also some social and emotional skills along the way. It went without saying that we had high expectations for ourselves and our students and working together was not only easy, but enjoyable.
Deanna and I both serve as Team Leaders this year and I still find it easy and enjoyable to collaborate with her. We may not be on the same school team, working with the same students, but I love that we both make time to self-care with each other by spending quality time with together. I’ve always admired her patience, integrity, empathy, and ability to provide perspective. There have been countless times where she makes me think about another way to think about a situation with care and authenticity. Not many people have this ability and I consider myself lucky to call someone like Deanna a close friend. She helps me be my best self and I really can’t thank her enough for just simply being her. So when time’s get a little challenging, you bet I can count on Ms. Deanna to brighten up my day with her light. Who can brighten your day with their light? Let them know.
Deanna, I’m so grateful that City Year has brought the two of us together because knowing that I have a lifelong friend is pretty freaking cool. Thank you for being you.