Why I Serve – Dan Goldberg

My name is Dan Goldberg, I am 21 years old, and I serve on the P.S. 13 T-Mobile Team in East New York. Normal days here at City Year are jam packed with hard work. We arrive at 8:15 on the dot every morning to do our PT, or physical training exercises, which prepare us for the day and to allow the community to see and feel our presence.

I spend several hours each day conducting one-on-one literacy sessions with my students. City Year is able to provide the individualized attention that teacher’s can’t always give to each student. Two of my other students both seem to be hasty readers. They sometimes just read the first few letters of a word and think that they recognize it as a word that they have already learned when they are usually wrong. In order to help them from falling into this trap, we have been reading very long words together and pronouncing them out loud. Recently we’ve been doing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” an imaginary word from Mary Poppins. At first they were reading it as “supercalifornia” and “supercalifergus.” I’m not quite sure what a Fergus is but my one student always says it when he is confused about a word. After a lot of practice they were finally able to pronounce it correctly. Next week we will work on “photosynthesis.” I also have a first grader who could not read whatsoever at the beginning of the year and seems to have a learning disability. With my help and patience, he has made a good deal of progress and can now read and comprehend 3 letter words.

After school each day we run the Starfish program. During Starfish we teach students about community issues and give them something productive to do after school. So far we have learned about health, violence, and gangs. We also took an amazing field trip to a local organic garden to do some farming. We are getting our students involved with community service at a young age.

We get out of work at 6:00 every day. This past week I worked 57 hours and in City Year, it is the norm. It is definitely a hard and long day’s work, but if it can make a difference to the lives of the children in my school, it is worth it.