A Day in the Life at Sayre

6AM: As I wake up in the morning, I slide on my Promise Corps t-shirt and watch an episode of New Girl before I leave for work, trying to summon my inner Jessica Day before I leave.

7:30AM: As I walk into William L. Sayre High School, I am greeted by the students, staff and security guards. I walk into the Promise Corps room and greet my teammates with a “Good Morning” and a smile. Students slowly trickle in, stopping by to say hello before they head to their classrooms for first period. After this point, every day is different. I often don’t see students on my caseload until lunch time, so my mornings often focus on finding extra hours opportunities, in-kinding, writing blog posts, and creating modules to offer for our students in topics like college access, military, national service, the local workforce, and jobs and internships. I also typically meet with students that are on my teammates caseloads if I am available, having created relationships with most of the students who walk into our room.

12PM: Lunch rarely comes at the same time each day, as we are always tending to the needs of the students. I’ve also created relationships with the teachers, and observe and assist in classes. The classes I attend usually contain a student who is struggling in that class or has requested that I be there to help with the material they are learning.

1:30: After lunch, more students arrive. I work with tenth graders, focusing on academic support and resume writing. When I first met with the students in the beginning of the year, we discussed their interests after they graduate high school so I can best help them to start building their path for success. I also helped them each complete an individualized student success plan with each student, establishing several goals for them to work on throughout the year. Then, if we’re not meeting to focus on academic work, we are working on accessing opportunities to help build their resumes or focusing on SAT preparation.

3:00: The students run out of the school, we usually have a few stragglers that stick around, looking to spend some time with us, or hoping to finish some school work before they head home.

4:30: At the end of the day, I have been taking 10 minutes to meditate to help relax after an always changing day.

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– Haley Snyder, College & Career Ambassador at Sayre High School

A Day in the Life at Future

7:30AM – The day at Future usually starts off with CCA’s checking our emails, working in America Learns, and planning out our day. This usually takes no longer than thirty minutes to an hour. School starts at 7:34, so sometimes we head to a first period class as well.
8:30AM – Every day, students have an advisory that lasts about 10 minutes. This is the time important information gets out to students. Our caseloads are grouped by advisory, so it’s a great time to get to all of them at once. CCA’s make their way to their designated advisories to deliver essential information to their students about upcoming Promise Corps events. It’s also a chance for CCA’s to speak with students that they may find hard to locate during the school day.
8:40AM – By third period most CCA’s are in classes with their learners. Marylissa, who works with 11th and 12th grade learners, usually goes down to the senior English class to help with senior project. All seniors must complete their capstone senior project in order to graduate. They complete a research paper, conduct field work, and present on their chosen issue to a panel near the end of the school year.
Francis, who works with the 10th grade learners is usually in one of the 10th grade classes, like Algebra 2. I (Shaquana), work with 10th and 11th graders and am usually in an 11th grade English class working with students on their various assignments. Most recently we worked on a resume workshop!
10:41AM – Once the students’ lunch periods roll around (5th and 6th periods), we make our way down to the student support center, which is a huge space for students to come and work in. This is where CCA’s are most utilized. Students come in for support with academics and post-secondary plans. Students also come in for support for SATs. Doron, who works with 10th and 11th grade learners, is also the SAT coordinator. He’s been doing a great job of ramping up support for the juniors, who are preparing to take the SATs for the first time. Joelle and Sophie, who both work with seniors, are usually helping with college support or senior project support.
12:40PM – I usually grab a quick lunch before heading to another class. For the final two periods of the day, CCA’s are either back in classes with students or they’re in the Promise Corps room working one on one or in small groups with students. Since, most students and even teachers prefer to have CCA’s in the classroom, we’re usually in the classrooms more than the Promise Corps room.
2:34PM – The final bell rings. After school is when most seniors will come in for support with their senior projects. They will usually stay until 4:30pm, when the day ends for CCA’s. However, there are cases when students need to stay longer to get whatever it is they are working on done, and we are more than glad to stay late and help.


– Shaquana Gantt, College & Career Ambassador at School of the Future


ACE Career Panel

As my year in Promise Corps comes to an end, the questions “ What’s next?” and “Do you want to go into teaching?”  have continuously come up. The answer I give is a simple, “I don’t know yet.” After graduating from the Pennsylvania State University, being a highly involved student leader in THON, serving as an intern with the Borgen Project and working as a Promise Corps CCA, I know two things: I love working with kids and I love providing them with the resources they need to succeed.

So on April 16, 2018 Promise Corps hosted an “Alternative Careers in Education” panel to give members like myself a chance to learn about careers in education, working with youth, corporate giving management, counseling, immigration, and law. The event took place at 6pm 1234 Market Street. Panelists in attendance included:

Dr. Guy Diamond: Director of The Center for Family Intervention Science at Drexel University

Paige Joki: Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow at the Education Law Center

Elizabeth Galez: National Manager of Corporate Programs at City Year

Kristian Ogungbemi: Current teacher and participant of UPenn’s Urban Teacher Residency Program

Carolina Torres: Office Manager at Juntos

Andrea DiMola: Community Schools Senior Supervisor

The event started with a brief introduction, followed by questions for the panelists, and ended with light refreshments and time to network.

What seemed to be the big theme of the night was networking and building relationships. According to Dr. Guy Diamond, “People who do well meet people and make connections.” Personally, I could not agree more. One of the things I am most thankful for is the strong alumni network I have behind me and the people I have met and formed relationships with through my college and AmeriCorps experience. Going along with networking, Paige Joki encouraged us to, “Let people know what you want to do. Tell people. You have no idea how supportive people will be and how much they’ll want to help you and introduce you to people.”

What do you do after forming those relationships and continuing to strengthen your network? The panelists say translating your experience into the job you want and goals you have is important. By having the title “AmeriCorps member,” being able to help build capacity at an organization, having a strong work ethic, being more experienced, flexible and adaptable is a given. The thing that is going to make you stand out is how you translate those experiences into numbers and the impact you’ve made. “Be prepared to tell your story in numbers,” one of the panelists mentions.  Your story is something you know better than anyone else. Be prepared to tell it. Tell it in your resume and make your cover letter personal because your story matters.

I want to give a big thank you to Bethany and Kerry for organizing this event. It answered questions I had and gave all of us an opportunity to meet some incredible and inspiring people. Thank you to all the panelists who came. Your advice and knowledge of the field you are in was very valuable to the rest of the CCA’s and myself.

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– Yaczin Hernandez, College & Career Ambassador at Overbrook High School



Painting With A Purpose!

Easterseals is an organization that works to help people with disabilities. They provide services for children, parents, seniors, caregivers, and veterans. Some of the services they provide include early childhood intervention, child development centers, job training and placement, and music therapy. Easterseals centers and services are located in Philadelphia and across the country.

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On Thursday March 29th and Friday March 30th, Promise Corps set out to give back and help an organization that pours their heart into helping others. We arrived at Easterseals bright and early. It was then that we met with some of their staff, as well as the Playworks AmeriCorps members who were going to help us with the work as well. After we participated in a brief icebreaker, Bethany rolled out our assignments and the building we would each be placed in.

Half of the members stayed at the Easterseals headquarters, and the other half went to the elementary school. Once we were there we started cleaning, wiping down the walls, taping the edges of the room, and painting with a purpose! After two days of painting, the rooms looked a little brighter and more colorful. I’m so excited for the kids and teachers to see their newly painted rooms! It was also really great to be able to spend some time with other members in Promise Corps and meet new members of Playworks.

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Thank you to the Easterseals staff for being so welcoming and allowing us into your workspace. I will definitely take you up on your offer and be back to see the work you do with the kids!

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It is not.”

– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

– Yaczin Hernandez, College & Career Ambassador at Overbrook High School


Passing on the Service Baton at Sayre

On March 19, Rich, a CCA at Sayre, collaborated with Amanpreet (Aman) Kaur to teach students about national service and to share their own experiences in four different classes.

Rich taught the students that a Service Year is a “paid opportunity to develop real-world skills through hands-on service,” and expanded more on the philosophical, altruistic, and self-advancement reasons for doing service. He shared about how his current service year has shaped him as a thinker, a leader, a doer. Most importantly, he revealed how his service has taught him that he doesn’t have to do big things to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the students he works with: one of Rich’s meaningful moments was when he helped one of his students create a plan to combine their desire to wrestle in the WWE and to matriculate into a bachelor’s program.

Soon after, he gave way to the proud Service Year alumnus and Community Health & Engineering Librarian of Penn’s Biomedical Library, Aman. She regaled our students with her tales of her dramatic history with service and her many contributions to the Literacy AmeriCorps of Palm County (see her blog post).

Students sat with interest and one became so enthusiastic, he decided to champion Service Year in our last class. He exclaimed the various facts that enticed him to do a service year, such as the fact that there are “over 65,000 opportunities to do Service years,” that it was a pathway to higher education, and other reasons for doing a Service Year. He became our spokesman for much of the first half of our workshop and when the workshop neared the end, he kept Aman on her feet with his flurry of questions: He wanted to learn as much as he could.

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You might be wondering who that student was if you didn’t get it from the title, that student was Kiwauun, our resident tenth grader and now the honorary spokesman of Service Year.

– Richard Vu, College & Career Ambassador at Sayre High School


Student Spotlights from Sayre


On March 14, a medium-sized group of 10-12th graders and the Sayre team visited the alma mater of our very own CCA Tyshae Hightower, Temple University. There, the students went on a tour through the Tunnelman Learning Center, School of Business, and parkway where Temple’s founder stays.


Going to Temple is an opportunity for many of our students to see what their future can look like: of them, we selected two students to introduce to you: Rasheed and Saleemah. For the two of them, the Temple trip was an opportunity to get interested and ask lots of questions, a fruitful endeavour for both of them.

Rasheed, Tenth Grader

Richard (Rich, CCA): What did you go into the Temple Trip expecting and what did you get out of it?”

Rasheed (Sheed): A lot of opportunities and programs. It’s a good school.

Rich: Can you share some of the questions that you asked? What did you like?

Sheed: I asked what kind of programs they had, and they have over a 150 programs, like electronics. The campus is big. They have a lot of programs, libraries, and stuff, anything that will help you out if you need it.

Rich: What did you learn about this experience?

Sheed: It’s a great opportunity because if you need a helping hand, Temple is there. Whatever you need, ask anybody. It’ll teach you good things.

Saleemah, Eleventh Grader

Rich: What did you expect?

Saleemah: I’ve been to Temple. This is my third time. The first time, I came for the basketball game, the women’s basketball game, and it was cool. I got to see how girls play basketball and it was fun. The other times, was like a tour, but I wasn’t expecting a lot because this is not my first time to Temple. This is my first time coming into this building (the business school and student lunch center). When he was telling us about the business and all the different programs, I didn’t get that on the other trips.

Rich: Did you like the tour?

Saleemah: I liked the person giving the tour. He was informational and gave specific details. I liked his advice when he told me I should come here for pre-med. I’m still thinking about that. I might come here for pre-med and go to medical school.

Rich: What are the things you liked about Temple that might push you to go? If you were to tell other students about how to prepare for college trips, what would you tell them to do?

Saleemah: It’s big. You’ll never know. You’ll end up inside the business building and turn around, inside the media part. It’s a whole lot of different things and it’s very interesting. I would tell them to really listen and take in the knowledge that the person is giving them and to ask a whole lot of questions. It’s important to ask questions because they might not think of telling you all that you want to know. The question might [prompt an], “Oh yeah, I didn’t tell them about this, so let me tell them about it.”


– Richard Vu, College & Career Ambassador at Sayre High School