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Global Youth Service Day at Sarah T. Reed Elementary

April 19, 2012

By Laura Slotkoff and Briana Luth, Corps Members Proudly Serving at Reed Elementary

Tomorrow the City Year team at Sarah T. Reed Elementary in New Orleans East will be having a large scale service day that will beautify the school and make for a more effective learning environment. We will be doing a number of projects to improve the quality our students’ education and their surroundings.

We have several painting projects planned for the day. The school is in trailers with metal columns lining the outdoor hallways, most of which have been painted bright blue, green and purple.  They brighten the spirits of our students as they walk to their classes.  We are going to paint the remaining columns similar colors. On the ground there are paw prints that guide the younger students to their classes. They have faded away.  We will repaint them.

We also have some mural painting planned for our school. The school has a strong emphasis on college preparation, so we will paint college logos on the sidewalks. Our last painting project, which is our rainy day back up plan, is to paint inspirational murals onto panels to be hung around the school.

Photo by Laura Slotkoff

We will be doing some light construction for our school as well. We are fixing trash bin containers to house the outdoor trash cans and discourage littering around the school grounds. We will also be fixing benches for the students and faculty to enjoy sitting outside along the playground and basketball court.

We have recruited some staff members and students, who are excited to beautify their school. There are also some sailors in town who have offered their time to volunteer for our service project. Our goal is to bring confidence and poise to the name Sarah T. Reed Elementary and with a little elbow grease and a whole lot of gung-ho attitude we will be successful! Let’s go Royal Tigers!

This is the blog of City Year New Orleans. give a year. change the world.

5 Ways to Make it Through the Final Stretch

April 12, 2012

By Tiffany Montano, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed High School

Think back to high school.  Do you remember when spring finally came around?  Do you remember the overwhelming urge to just check out from your responsibilities?  This is the point that our students are reaching now.  As it turns out, serving in a high school also breeds similar feelings to when we actually were in high school – we are exhausted too.

City Year is tough.  Just like anything else, it only gets tougher as you get closer to the finish line.  That’s why I have decided to make a list of the survival strategies that I have observed in not only my fellow corps members, but also myself:

  1.  Start a countdown.  We have a countdown on the chalkboard in our classroom.  As of today, it reads: “23 days left at school” and “28 days until graduation.”  When we are frustrated, we can refer to the board and find solace in the fact that we’re almost there.  At the same time, this countdown reminds us of how little time we have left with our students, enabling us to appreciate our time more.
  2. Eat your lunch outside.  The weather is beautiful but you spend every weekday from sun up to sun down indoors.  You’re going to resent that.  Even though you can’t spend the whole day outside, you can still enjoy and appreciate its beauty!  You have half an hour to yourself – make it count.
  3. Find humor in your misery.  There is no better way to get through tough times than humor.  When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins that actually make you happier.  It’s one of those “fake it ‘til you make it” kind of situations.  Once you laugh about it, you’ll realize that it really isn’t that bad anyway.
  4. Treat yourself to something nice.  This can take form in any way that you see fit: a chocolate bar, a bubble bath, dinner with friends, etc.  We don’t have a lot of money so sometimes we need to get creative.  For example, Easter candy is on sale and instead of going out to dinner, organize a picnic.
  5. Sit down with one of your favorite students and imagine this was your last day with them.  This is the toughest strategy to master but it is also the most effective.  You might hesitate to jump into it right away because, as you can imagine, it makes you really sad!  We love our kids and we can’t imagine life without them.  Maybe you remember when I wrote about a student transferring in January; this was a traumatic event for me.  At the same time, her leaving enabled me to appreciate my time with my students even more.  This is what we need to do in our final days as City Year corps members.  Harness your sadness and your confusion for what life will be like without your kids and transform those feelings into motivation to keep going strong.

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How To

April 10, 2012

By Laura Slotkoff, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Reed Elementary School

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