Return to Blog

Support in Service, then and now

Tags: Regional Partnerships Fellowship

2.27.17 VJ Ryan City Year.jpg

Ryan Burton, Metro region Fellow

As a City Year Boston Corps Member, I dedicated over 1,700 hours of service to improving the educational outcomes and social and emotional well-being of students at a middle school in Boston’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. The middle school where I served reflected the neighborhood’s demographics, as a cacophony of Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English filled the hallways and the vast majority of the students were on free and reduced lunch. Although I knew going in that my year of service would be impactful, I did not realize how much it would inform the rest of my civic career.

From the differentiated instruction that I provided to the 7th graders in my cohort to the civic engagement activities that we implemented in our after school program, City Year gave me the opportunity to grow into a more informed and empathic leader. Through the academic and personal growth of the students, I witnessed firsthand the difference that adults who care can make in the lives of young students. The greatest lessons that I learned in City Year came from my students, however, as I still reflect on what they taught me about creativity, resiliency and strength.

Although I’m now 2,000 miles away from Boston, I’m still working to increase educational opportunities as a Fellow supporting the Metro Council. The Denver Metro area has one of the most significant achievement gaps between higher-resourced and lower-resourced students in the country. The Metro Council is aware of this disparity and strives to improve post-secondary outcomes for students by investing in middle school education. The Metro Council partnered with Compass Academy to support four City Year Corps Members this past year, so I’m now experiencing the impact of City Year from another perspective.  I’m happy that working in education has become a part of my career, as I sincerely believe in the lifelong impact that increased educational opportunities can have on both an individual and a community.