It’s In Your Hands



Monday was the first day of school for DC public schools. As a follow-up to our series of blog posts based on City Year Founding Stories (read the Founding Stories here), we asked our corps members, “What steps will you take to ensure that you and your students get the most out of your City Year?”

Find the Founding Story, It’s In Your Hands, and our favorite corps members’ responses to the question below.

It’s In Your Hands

There once lived a wise elderly woman. She had lived in the same house her entire life. Everyday when she woke, she would say “Good morning” to her beautiful parakeet, Agape. The woman would put Agape in the window so she could enjoy the sun and the fresh air, and the elderly woman would then go about her daily chores. All of the people who lived in the neighborhood knew about the elderly woman and her bird, Agape. One day, two young men decided that they were going to break into the elderly woman’s house while she was away and steal her bird. They decided that when she returned they would approach her and say, “Old woman, we have your bird. Is it dead or alive?” If the old woman replied “dead,” the young men decided that they would open their hands and let Agape fly away. If the old woman replied “alive,” they would crush Agape dead and drop her at the feet of the elderly woman.

Just as they had planned, the two boys waited for the elderly woman to leave her house to do her daily chores. When the elderly woman left, they broke into the house and stole Agape. When she returned, she found that her house had been broken into and Agape’s empty cage was on the floor.

Just as the two boys had planned, they approached the elderly woman and said, “Old woman, we have your bird. Is it dead or alive?” The wise, elderly woman paused a moment and looked at the ground. Then, with caring in her eyes, she looked at the boys and slowly answered, “I don’t know… it’s in your hands.”
– Popularized by Toni Morrison and often quoted as an indigenous tale

What steps will you take to ensure that you and your students get the most out of your City Year?

“In order to ensure a successful year for my kids, I will picture what life is like in their shoes and guide them in the way I would have wanted someone to guide me. I will love and support them through all highs and lows, remember to be patient, challenge them to catalyze moments of growth, and always believe in and preach to them their capabilities as outstanding citizens and academics.”
-Maya Hurley-Wales, Corps Member, Serve DC Team serving at CW Harris Elementary School, from Concord, MA

“I will strive to get out of my own comfort zone every day. I will stay grounded in reality, remembering that no day will be perfect, but also knowing that real change is possible and that I can be a part of it. I will push through exhaustion and similarly push my students, so that both they and myself can end the year better than we started it.”
-Annie Bateman, Corps Member, Serve DC Team serving at CW Harris Elementary School, from Chevy Chase, MD

“In order to relate to and engage with as many students as possible, I will distribute surveys about what they are most interested in doing in Aftercare. This way, they will be more interested in our after school activities. Clubs also give us an opportunity to build relationships with students outside of class. Building these relationships will enable us to be more effective when tutoring and providing instruction!”
-Catherine Ricotta, Corps Member serving at the Winston Education Campus, from Reston, VA

“In order to ensure that the students I worked with last year get the most out of having City Year corps members in their schools, I will make sure to provide the support and resources needed so that my corps members can be the most effective and motivated tutors, mentors, and role models they can be.”
-Caitlin Clark, Senior Corps Member, Walmart Team serving at Shaw Middle School

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