Jonathan Xi – MEC Summer Corps Alum
Ypsilanti Community Schools
I fondly remember the day when I committed to a summer of service with AmeriCorps and Michigan Education Corps, serving with Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS). Feelings of joy, excitement and bliss preoccupied my mind, yet I also had feelings of uncertainty and anxiety as I was unsure of what my role would be in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the feelings of uncertainty subsided as I became acquainted with my role as a teaching assistant during the summer learning camp at Estabrook Elementary.
Being a teaching assistant in the classroom has been a combination of a humbling and rewarding experience with periods of tremendous growth throughout the process. It was truly an honor to witness the tremendous growth that my students demonstrated throughout the duration of the learning camp. Both persistence and patience were necessary to facilitate my students’ growth, but it was worth it as I saw them become more invested with the lessons. Consequently, I began to notice how I was growing alongside my students. There were times of disagreement and defiance, but those were the instances where my students needed me the most. Overall, my experiences as a teaching assistant has been a challenging yet fulfilling time and I will continue to reflect upon these experiences.
Furthermore, my involvement with community projects and initiatives enabled me to contribute to the Ypsilanti community in a meaningful manner that will extend beyond the end of my service. My involvement with Boots on the Ground (BOTG), an outreach event to promote YCS to the community, demonstrated the dedication each BOTG volunteer has for the school district. Whether it was going door to door in local communities or engaging with the community at social gatherings, each volunteer showed a willingness to continue to refine and promote YCS. Lastly, my involvement assisting the planning and building of the YCS Resiliency Center showcased the level of commitment all of us had in building critical infrastructure that provides clothes, toiletries, household items, a computer center etc. to a diverse and unique community.
My service term with AmeriCorps has been an eye-opening, invaluable, and fulfilling experience that I will forever cherish for many years to come. The relationships that I made with the students, staff, community organizations, administrators, and my co-service members is one of the most rewarding aspects of my service. I will forever offer my gratitude to AmeriCorps, Michigan Education Corps, and Ypsilanti Community Schools for this incredible experience.