Member Spotlight: Kaitlin Dugan-Murrell

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As our School Partnership and Extra Hours Coordinator, Kaitlin is the primary contact for all communication with administration at West Philadelphia High School. She excels at maintaining strong relationships with school administration and relaying all pertinent information to her team and site supervisor. As the Extra Hours Coordinator, Kaitlin is always making sure that her teammates are up to date, consistently offering new and exciting professional development and service opportunities to engage with youth or with the Philadelphia community.

Because our team of four is short a member, Kaitlin has also taken a leading role in event planning throughout the year. She handled the logistics of college tours of La Salle University, Delaware State University, and Swarthmore College, and six trips to the Apple store for trainings. Kaitlin also spearheaded our initial National Service workshops, which informed students of opportunities and her own experiences within AmeriCorps, as a viable alternative to serving their country through military service. Always a wonderful team member to Promise Corps and administration, Kaitlin is above all devoted to the positive influence she has on her students.

On top of consistently, or at least—trying— to interact with administration, and keeping her team in the loop, Kaitlin also spends a good part of her day mentoring students who come in with problems. All of her students endearingly call her “Auntie,” and confide in her whenever they need advice. Whether the problem is related to drama between friends, or boy troubles, or future plans, or just life in general, she is always there to listen, empathize, and offer advice when it’s needed. At times, high school drama can be frustrating for adults to watch, let alone deal with, yet Kaitlin never talks down to her students or minimizes their problems. As a mother of a 2-year-old, she recognizes and integrates the knowledge that just because a young person’s problems may seem small to us, it doesn’t make them any less important to them.

In addition to volunteering at Promise Corps, Kaitlin also immerses herself in the Philadelphia community.  During the first few months of working at West Philadelphia High School, Kaitlin also worked part-time at the Eastern State Penitentiary.  The Eastern State Penitentiary is a landmark in Philadelphia, located in Fairmount.  It opened in 1829 and operated until 1971, at times home to infamous criminals like Al Capone.  It now operates as a museum.  Catch Kaitlin there around Halloween time, and maybe you can even see if you’re brave enough to go through the haunted house tour!

Kaitlin also just finished up volunteering at the Philadelphia flower show. The flower show has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1829.  It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and definitely deserves the attention.  Kaitlin also brought us back owl rocks from the flower show and it was adorable.

Kaitlin is a wonderful member to have on the West team. Her passion for Philadelphia, and being involved in its history and culture just shows her commitment to service and the AmeriCorps values.

– Patrick Ambrosio, College & Career Ambassador at West Philadelphia High School

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