Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published May 16, 2016

City Year

Coley, Olson latest to commit to working for national service organization
  • Seniors Myesha Coley (left) and Emily Olson (right)
The national service organization City Year strives to reduce the dropout rate of high-risk students in urban public schools, but the program also benefits the young tutors and mentors who serve a one-year commitment in 26 U.S. cities. Increasingly, Monmouth College graduates have become members of that group.

“Over the last four years, Monmouth has been sending more students progressively to City Year every year,” said Stephanie Kinkaid, assistant director of the College’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center. “Their organization now recruits here very regularly, visiting three or four times a year.”

One of the latest Monmouth students to commit to the program is sociology/anthropology major Emily Olson of Princeton, Ill. This fall, she’ll go to Boston, where she will be able to gain experience before attending graduate school for social work. She believes it will be an interesting opportunity and serve as a bridge for stepping into the real world of having a professional career.

“I’ve worked with children a lot throughout my life and have always loved them,” said Olson. “Children are so observant to the people around them, and I want to be someone who puts a positive impact on their lives. Through City Year, I hope to do that, and I envision being a good role model they see walking down the halls – someone that they can trust and a person that they can look to for support.”

Psychology major Myesha Coley of Lynwood, Ill., will be headed to Chicago for her City Year commitment and calls the experience “a stepping stone for me before graduate school. City Year will help me grow personally and with networking and communication.”

Additionally, doing mentoring and counseling work with children lines up well with Coley’s career goals, which are currently “leaning toward counseling.”

Working for City Year, the graduates are taught soft skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication, with a diverse set of students and mentors. In addition to those benefits, City Year participants are awarded an education scholarship to use toward their student loans. Members also meet a variety of alumni from a wide spectrum of professions that can be of great networking use in their futures.

Added Kinkaid, “After they participate in City Year, students have access to more than 100 programs to get between 30 and 100 percent off of tuition for graduate school.”

City Year not only seeks education majors, but also graduates with experiences in a variety of other disciplines, as the subject diversity gives the high-risk students an opportunity to discover an interest they may have. Working with mentors who have just completed the college experience shows them they can succeed and gives them an inspiration to follow. According to the organization, students who drop out are eight times more likely to be incarcerated and three times more likely to be unemployed than those who complete high school.
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