Opening Day Celebration this Friday!
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September 25, 2015
9:30 AM

J.A. Fair High School Auditorium
13420 David O. Dodd Rd.

Keynote Speaker
Superintendent Baker Kurrus 

Join us as we celebrate the beginning of service for 54 AmeriCorps Members in Little Rock Schools! This Friday we will honor the commitment these young people are making to the students and community in central Arkansas with an Opening Day Ceremony. Little Rock's new corps members will join nearly 2,700 other diverse 17-24 year olds in 27 communities across America who will be sworn in as City Year AmeriCorps members that day. This year we are proud to have our event sponsored locally by Baptist Health!

This event is sponsored nationally by Comcast | NBCUniversal and locally by Baptist Health.

New Beginnings as a Baseline Bear

Americorps Members Hersch Rothmel and Jamesha Hall serve at Baseline Elementary School. 

By Jamesha Hall, an AmeriCorps Member serving a second year at Baseline, and Hersch Rothmel, an AmeriCorps Member serving as a Team Leader at Baseline.

Jamesha: Being at Baseline last year was a trying year. There were a lot of struggles that made me want to give up. I could have done that, but I knew my students needed me. This year at Baseline Academy I can tell that great things will happen.  Once you walk through those doors you instantly feel the love.  I serve in Ms. Stroud’s third grade class.  She makes all of her students (and me) feel worthwhile, while still maintaining high standards.  I am glad to be back and I know that this is going to be my best year so far!

Hersch: After being informed Baseline had an entirely new faculty and administration, I knew being a Team Leader would be a challenge. While there are still many hurdles we have to jump, there is no doubt in my mind that we have the ability to clear them.  In collaboration with our principal, Johnathan Crossely, we have developed a dynamic, high energy, morning program entitled Wakeup Baseline.  The students participate in morning calisthenics, engage in structured games and crafts, and receive a morning message from faculty.  In addition, Wakeup Baseline is used to reinforce the core values of Baseline which are Family, Leadership, Empowerment, Progress, and Student Centered.

Jamesha & Hersch: The support from Mr. Crossely, and the entire Baseline Academy family, has made being a Team Leader and a returning second year AmeriCorps Member a true joy.  There are high expectations for our team, and we plan to exceed them!  We are starting after-school programing September 22, planning a Bullying Prevention Week during the first week of October, and are rolling out whole school math, literacy, and attendance initiatives that will engage both parents and students.  It is an exciting time for Baseline, and we are so proud to be a part of the Baseline Academy Team! 

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight: Larissa McNeil

Larissa McNeil serves on the AT&T Team at J.A. Fair High School. She is currently in her second year as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Little Rock.


Why did you choose City Year Little Rock?
I was working full-time in the writing lab at my alma mater (Savannah State University), tutoring and giving workshops on grammar and essay writing. I began to notice the poor writing skills of the college students and I wanted to find out where the disconnect began. Upon research, the purpose of City Year simply resonated with me. I saw a program that catered to students who weren't part of the "top", giving them the opportunity to become who they could be.

Give an example of how your service has had a positive impact.
One of my starfish students has challenged the way I think and listen to students. His willingness to view me as a confidante and mentor has caused me to pay attention to my actions, especially because he is such a closed-off person. It has made me take a good look at myself and how I behave because I want to continue to be a person he looks up to. 

Talk about a struggle you face as an AmeriCorps member.
Facing struggles as a corps member is inevitable. Right now, in order to make sure that I am able to start graduate school soon after completing service, I am working another job and it tends to get exhausting. Also, being a second year, it is not always easy to remain positive when struggles and problems I've seen during my first year persist. 

How has City Year affected you so far?
Honestly, I feel that I have grown into the person I'm supposed to be during my City Year. Growing up, I was not always outgoing or even comfortable around people I didn't know, and City Year has allowed me to become a lot more personable. Also, I now have a deep affection for the students I work with, and concern for their education and successful futures.


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