Make the World a Better Place with Kindness

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International Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 10-16, 2014. Take this opportunity during the week to step out of your normal routine or comfort zone and attempt a new random act of kindness each day of the celebratory week.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness and dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness. You check out their website to see ideas on how to perform a random act of kindness, educator resources, stories of kindness, resources like downloadable greeting cards, and more.

The Top 10 Kindness Ideas include:

1. Just smile at one extra person.
2. Eat lunch with someone new – at school, at the office or wherever you like.
3. Make sure to say I love you or give someone special an extra hug.
4. Volunteer!
5. Download Kindr from the Apple App Store and brighten someone’s day by sending a creative compliment, a hug or even a cute animal video.
6. Try to cook something healthy for your friends or family, and throw in a new vegetable or fruit.
7. Try to park your car a little further to provide a good parking spot for someone who needs it.
8. Send a positive message to someone in need or help someone who might not need it , but appreciates it.
9. Donate unwanted or unused clothes or household goods to a shelter, non-profit or animal rescue organization.
10. If you feel you just must make a monetary contribution, buy someone’s groceries or offer to help pay for someone in line.

If you participate in Random Acts of Kindness week, use the hashtag #RAKweek to tag your social media posts.

–Written by Sara Wright City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley Alumni ’09

A Day in the Life, Inspired by Students

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Growing up in Oregon, I had never heard of City Year. At the University of Oregon, being the eager freshman I was, I talked to a career counselor who mentioned City Year as a potential opportunity to take during a year off from school. I applied to where most-needed before the first application deadline, giddy with excitement. I signed up to serve because I knew that I had a lot to learn and hopefully a lot to offer. Now I serve because the students that I work with inspire me. They motivate me, they ground me, they challenge me, they may frustrate me, but without a doubt they make me smile and make me laugh. All of this fun starts during 1st period, where I tutor the first few of 8 students that I will spend individualized intervention sessions with throughout the school day. One of the students that I tutor in literacy is Jaylin.

Written by Laree Foster, corps member on the Clyde Fischer San Francisco 49ers Foundation Team

Written by Laree Foster, corps member on the Clyde Fischer San Francisco 49ers Foundation Team

When I met Jaylin, her attitude was polarized as either spunky or defeated. She is so clearly a bright girl, but when challenged I saw her shut down, a quality I recognized in myself. As months passed as her Extended Learning Time (ELT) Bridge leader, I began to gain her trust. Enough trust to learn of her broken family dynamics and her belief that her teacher does not believe in her. All that I could do was encourage her to try her best. Her best began to be better, and now her confidence is higher than ever. Now she is proud of her schoolwork and she has exceeded the 6th grade benchmark in fluency and reading comprehension, but what I am most proud about is how she is no longer stifled by reading a big word or solving a long math problem. I know that she can do these things without help. And most importantly, she knows that she can, too.

When I am not tutoring, I get to break up the day by playing football with kids during lunch, assisting with student council meetings, or leading Reader’s Theater during a special education class, before heading off to Room 55 where I meet my BRIDGE class promptly at 2:45. Up until this point in the year, I have led two literacy blocks during ELT each day but I am in the process of transitioning into Co-Behavior Coordinator where I will work with students who exhibit anti-social behavior or have more intense social and emotional needs. After my year of service ends, I will be a senior studying psychology and special education. I hope to build upon my experiences with education, to keep them in my mind as I one day hope to become a school psychologist, where I will meet many Jaylin’s, Fabian’s, Jesus’s, Jonathan’s and Angela’s again.

City Year Through The Eyes of A Student: An Interview With Second Grader, Eugene

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By Jenna Morris, Corps Member 

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

If you ask any City Year corps member what they most like about serving at City Year, almost everyone will say “the kids.” As a corps member, I’ve had the privilege to get to know Eugene, a second grader who is in our Extended Learning Time after-school program. Eugene enjoys playing outside, eating strawberry ice cream, doing experiments, and is a member of our football club where he enjoys helping Ms. Sharmaine and Ms. Nicole. Last week I interviewed Eugene to get to know him better and learn about how City Year is impacting his life.

 

JENNA: What is your favorite thing about City Year?
EUGENE: They like to play with me and they help me. I like to play tag and Ms. and Mr. Fox.

JENNA: What have you learned so far in City Year?
EUGENE: I learned to be a good person. I am learning to not bully. I learned how to make a team and make friends.

JENNA: Who is someone you admire and why?
EUGENE: My family because they buy me costumes for Halloween. They help me to learn Spanish and Vietnamese. I was born in Vietnam. I have friends in Vietnam that I look up to. I look up to my Mom who lives in Texas and my grandpa who lives in San Jose.

JENNA: If you could be a food, what food would you be and why?
EUGENE: Strawberry ice cream because I like strawberry ice cream.

JENNA: If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?
EUGENE: Dragon because my favorite animal is dragons because they breathe fire and have wings.

JENNA: Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
EUGENE: I make science projects. I made a volcano and it exploded. Then I cleaned up my mess so my grandma took me to Chuck E Cheese.

JENNA: What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
EUGENE: I want to be a worker for Target. I want to make things for the children to play with and make clothes for them to wear at school and home.

I really enjoyed interviewing Eugene and getting to know him better. It’s so great to hear that the work we are doing matters and that the students are enjoying themselves, learning, and growing.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.