As I write this post, I am officially one month into my new position as a Site Supervisor for Promise Corps. In this role, I split my time between two of our four sites, Overbrook High School and School of the Future. I support our Promise Corps members in meeting benchmarks with their caseloads of students, meet with teachers and administration, and interact with many students on a daily basis. Previously, I served as an AmeriCorps member for two years. My impetus for becoming an AmeriCorps member was twofold – I have always been very involved in service and wanted to complete a year of service post college graduation, and I also had a desire to get experience working in a school. I had been a business major in college, but was always interested in education and had been thinking about becoming a teacher. I figured getting the chance to work at a school in a role working directly with both students and staff/teachers would be an amazing way to get hands-on experience to determine if my career path towards becoming a teacher was right for me.
The tagline of AmeriCorps is to “get things done.” If I had to sum up my two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, that would be it. Sure, I had experience tutoring students weekly in college, but that was nothing compared to working in a school 50+ hours a week where I would also be in a position of authority with students. I quickly learned all the joys and stresses that come along with that role. I was instantly charged with making decisions that would affect the whole school. It wasn’t easy, but I had the support of my fellow five teammates as we navigated this experience together. When you step into an AmeriCorps role, you are immediately expected to rise to the challenge of your position and meet high expectations, just like any other employee working with you. You must be resourceful. You must figure it out. Having 400 students coming to me with questions I didn’t quite have the answers to was scary, but there wasn’t time to be scared. The high expectations set encouraged me to rise to them. Although in these two years of service I learned that teaching was not right for me, I realized my love for the AmeriCorps program, my students and coworkers, and working in education. I knew I wanted to collaborate with others to serve young people.
Now, as a Site Supervisor, I am supporting two teams of Promise Corps College and Career Ambassadors in getting things done. Having joined midway through the school year, I can already see that they are. Promise Corps members are a known presence at their schools. They each have their niches. They have figured out how to use their strengths to go above and beyond what is asked of them as AmeriCorps members, whether it be coaching a sport, connecting students with professionals they know in careers students are interested in, and so much more. You name it, they’re doing it. They are showing me the ropes at the schools—passing on invaluable institutional knowledge. At the end of the day, my role as an AmeriCorps member, and now as a supervisor to members, has led me to deepen my commitment to national service programs because it has allowed me to experience the reality of AmeriCorps members getting things done.
– Kerry DiNardo, Promise Corps Site Supervisor