As always, I like to use my “Pride of Milwaukee” posts to bring some attention to a person, persons, organization, or event that really highlights something neat happening in Milwaukee. Today’s post focuses on City Year MKE – a great service org!
City Year MKE is represented by a very diverse group of young adults, aged between 17-24 years old. These impressive folks work full-time as tutors, mentors and role models in some of Milwaukee’s underperforming, high-poverty schools. These role models help students to achieve more in school and to increase graduation rates! This year there are 70 corps members serving in 8 Milwaukee Public Schools. Because they are “near peers” City Year members are uniquely able to reach out to the students they work with.
Besides doing in-school activities with students, like tutoring and in-person mentoring, the City Year corps members also actively reach out to the families of their students through phone-calls, when the students have attendance issues. The corps members have also undertaken projects to help make their schools more attractive places. I was recently at North Divison High School, as part of an artist-in-residence program with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and came across the corps’ efforts. I commented to a student on how much I admired the painted images and quotes that adorned the hallways. The student replied that the paintings were only a week old. As it turned out, the corps members were at North Division, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, painting the walls of the school. They really did a great job and did much to change the “energy” of those hallways.
Every Friday, the City Year members meet in downtown Milwaukee for a weekly meeting and activities. Each of the school groups has a clustering with their group leader and receive news and updates. Then, as a whole, the corps participates in some physical training – on this day, that happened to be in 8 inches of snow! Their enthusiasm filled the air and it was exciting and energizing to watch them. Seeing these people reaching out to serve in the Milwaukee community makes me feel very confident for their futures, and for the future of Milwaukee!