Last Friday, we hosted our second registration day for the 2013 – 2014 incoming corps. At each of these days we will interview a few corps members and share their thoughts about joining City Year, moving to NYC and how they are getting ready for the year. Click here to meet corps members from the first day.
Name: Alissa Abad
Hometown: Dumont, NJ
What were you doing before City Year? Graduated with a math degree from The College of New Jersey
How’d you find out about City Year? It was at a career fair, I was looking around and seeing if I wanted to go to graduate school or find other teacher programs. City Year was the most interesting to me. What drew me to City Year was working one-on-one with kids who needed the most help. I always feel that a lot of kids are not into math, so I really want to explain different concepts to them and really get them interested in how it applies to their lives. I want it to be fun for them!
You will be living with your family here in New York, was the decision easy? I was kind of scared at first. I’m the kind of person who would feel obligated to spend most of my time with them. I knew with my work schedule it would be almost impossible, except on weekends… but, they were very flexible. I can live independently like I’m in an apartment but no charge! And, they’re great.
What do you want to do a year from now when you graduate City Year? I tried out teaching and I’m still really interested in education. I taught in a really good district in Trenton, but I was focusing too much on teaching the subject rather than working with the kids. I feel like after City Year, I’ll have a better idea if I want to continue with education or if I want to do something else related to working with kids.
Since today’s (last Friday) your birthday, what do you think about spending your birthday at registration day? It’s really special. I felt like City Year was going to be a really big step into my professional life. The fact that it’s going to be my birthday made it even more special. I’m turning 23 and this is the start of my City Year!
How’d you learn about City Year? I learned about City Year through a friend, Kareem, he was on the basketball team at Colby. He did a City Year before college and told me about it, so I checked it out. I wanted to get into teaching, education and social justice. I felt that City Year was a good match to get me on that path.
What are you looking forward to the most? I’m excited about getting into the communities, getting to know the people and kids who live there and really building with them. Also, to see where they’re at and where they can go. I’m really interested in social justice work and if we’re not starting with the kids, then what are we really doing? I really want to plant a lot of seeds…you know, water some plants, [have them grow] and then enjoy the shade.
What are you nervous about? Kids always have that unpredictably about them. Right now is the most influential time in their lives. I’m nervous about competing with those outside influences like TV, music, pop culture, whatever it is. My little sister is eight and she has a laptop, Kindle and an iPhone. I’m just like, “What?!” When I was her age I had a Sega Genesis!
If there’s one experience that you’ve had that has prepared you for this year, what is it? I wouldn’t say it’s one thing – it’s been a succession of things. I went to Howard University for a semester. I got in touch with other student activists – I participated in a lot of rallies and political meetings. After that, I continued to meet up with people and build and expand my network, starting book clubs and study sessions outside of school. It’s about practicing what you preach. I’m going to read all these books and theories, but how am I going to spread this to the community?
What got you into City Year? I graduated a year early from high school, so I had this year free and I always wanted to do some type of volunteer or service work. I’m the most excited about working with kids who are having trouble with subjects like Math and Science. Ever since I was young, I have a good knack for breaking down tough concepts.
You came to our open house last year, right?Did that help you decide to join City Year? I came in May before I applied. It helped my decision making process. On the website there’s a lot of information, but actually coming to an Open House and talking to Nick, the Admissions Manager, and seeing what the people were like and how open the were, helped a lot. It definitely made a good impression.
How does your family feel about your decision to take a gap year in between high school and college? My dad’s the one who showed me the City Year website. He stumbled upon it. It seemed pretty cool. My mom’s happy about it and she wanted me to stay here another year – I’m an only child.
What do you want to study in college? Some type of engineering – electrical or computer, something like that. I think my year with City Year will definitely help. Aside from meeting people and team-building, service will be a lot of hours so I’ll have to learn to manage my time. It wasn’t something I was very good at in high school. If you’re serving 7am to – 6pm and you have to make sure you get things done, you have to do things quickly and efficiently. That’ll help in college.
Our final registration day is August 2nd so check back then to meet a few more of our awesome incoming corps members.