A New Found Family

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A Mid-Year AmeriCorps Service Reflection
By Michael DeVito, 2015-16 CalSERVES AmeriCorps Member

Phillips Elementary AmeriCorps Team

AmeriCorps Team at Phillips Elementary

 

It baffles me that I have been working at Phillips Elementary for three months now. It seems as if September 15th was one month ago and I was just getting accustomed to my new position. I didn’t expect time to move so fast; and I certainly didn’t expect to miss seeing these kids for ten hours a day. Even though I was a little surprised at how much I would miss the students, I was even more surprised to discover what really tugged at my heart strings.

My team.

As much as I love my students and their teachers; I cannot express how lucky I am to have such a great crew to work alongside. My fellow AmeriCorps Mentors whom I work with every day are Jen, Jara, and Rachel. My site supervisor who I also see every day is Erika, and our Regional Leader who is stationed in the main office, but comes to site at least once a week is Justine. Last but not least, our after school program manager who oversees all programs is Yesenia, also stationed at the main office.

I learned early on that this job requires flexibility and demands you to wear multiple hats throughout the day. However, our program would not function daily without the cooperation from each individual on our team. As a group, we are involved with each other for more than just our average work day. We train together, go out to eat together, volunteer off site together, car pool around the Bay Area together, and hang out together. Even though we frequently stay home so that we can all appreciate our alone time and privacy, it’s still a great feeling to come into work with such an established relationship with the team.

The Friday before we left for winter break, our site all coordinated an ugly sweater contest and each brought in a dish of food for all of us to share. We gave out candy canes to our students and some of the parents even donated Hot Chocolate and beverages for everyone! During our monthly Parent Night, we had each grade perform for each other. Some grades sang, performed skits, read poetry, and danced. We also had games set up for afterwards such as “pin the nose on the reindeer” and “Build Your Own Snowman” with styrofoam balls and crafts. To end the evening, Jen, Jara, Rachel and I went on the stage in the multi-use room and sang “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” Our kids cheered for us and I couldn’t stop smiling.

It is clear by this point just how much of an impact this job has had on me. Everyone I work with has taught me something new about myself and about working with kids. We all have our own strengths and continue to push each other to grow and become an effective tutor/mentor. Most of all, we help each other to be the best version of ourselves that we can be! Everyone left for the break with positive vibes surrounding them. I felt it was an amazing way to leave 2015 and to begin 2016. As I prepare to return in January and work with my students, I cannot help but look forward to making new memories and Get Things Done For America with my team.