On August 14, 2018, the newest group of College & Career Ambassadors arrived at 1234 Market St., the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, to begin their year of service. The new Promise Corps Cohort consisted of eight talented recent college grads, all of whom share values of community service, creative approaches to learning and putting students first. With two returning members, Drew and Shaquana, we welcomed Sydney, Rodney, Jessie, Shakeira, Anna and Maddie to the team.
Corps Members spent four days in orientation, learning about AmeriCorps and National Service, the history of Philadelphia Public Schools, and a comprehensive overview of today’s preeminent approaches to education reform. Practicing their elevator pitches, CCA’s developed their best strategies to building successful partnerships with teachers, administrators and students in their schools. Additionally, members participated in a respectfully energetic debate; one side argued in defense of Federal spending towards AmeriCorps, and the other side spoke in favor of cutting funding. Through this activity, CCA’s developed a shared understanding of, and belief in, the necessity of service programs like AmeriCorps.
The week capped off with an afternoon service trip to the Lutheran Settlement House Community Garden, where the entire Promise Corps team worked together to provide direct service in the garden. Corps Members reflected on the importance of doing service outside of their specific school sites, as a way to interact fully with the larger community of Philadelphia.
Lastly, members solved a variety of puzzles and activities in order to discover which of the four Promise Zone high schools they would be assigned to. We are thrilled to start this new year off with such an amazing team, and to be back serving West Philadelphia high schools.