Nonprofit brings mentors to Detroit classrooms

City Year Detroit seeking new mentors to work with students

Detroit nonprofit puts mentors into classrooms

DETROIT – Imagine being able to impact the life of a child and get paid at the same time.

Right here in Detroit, one nonprofit is offering that opportunity to young adults.

City Year Detroit is a local branch of a national nonprofit that places corps members into classrooms to mentor and work with children.

“We’re an education based nonprofit,” said Alli Knox. “What we do is we put teams of young, diverse individuals from (ages) 18 to 25 into these urban, systemically under-resourced public schools, where they work there full time all year as a tutor, mentor and role model for kids grades 3 through 9.

“(It’s) very rewarding; very impactful for myself personally, professionally,” Knox added. “I grew so much more than I ever would have expected just because I had this opportunity to help someone.”

Knox mentored Detroit students for one year through the City Year program. She signed up to be a corp member after graduating from college.

For her, signing up for City Year Detroit was a way to make a difference in the lives of students.

“I knew I wanted to make a tangible impact somewhere, somehow,” Knox said.

She and a team of corps members worked directly with children in the classroom. Knox says that the team would focus their attention on students who need it most, like those who are a grade level or two behind.

“You are there every single day in the life of a child, you can’t help but form a really meaningful relationship with them,” said Andrew Stein, City Year Detroit’s executive director.

Stein worked as a City Year corps member 17 years ago. City Year is a nationwide nonprofit operating in cities all across the U.S. Here in Detroit, there are 116 corps members working with students at 11 public schools in Detroit.

The group says they are looking for new corps members who want to work with children.

Knox says the team is especially looking for “somebody who is passionate, definitely about systemic inequities, passionate about serving or working with students.”

Knox loved her experience with City Year Detroit so much that she has since became a recruiter for the local nonprofit.

Corps members get great benefits for signing up: They’re paid just over $600 bi-weekly for the full-time job, they get health benefits and a college scholarship with access to many others.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all? Building relationships that can last a lifetime.

“I touched the lives of those students positively,” Knox said. “I saw the smiles that they gave me and I gave them, you know what I’m saying? I do believe that through the program, we plant the seeds that are necessary to get these students where they need to be.”

Those interested in applying for City Year Detroit must be between 18 and 25 years old. You can apply on the City Year website right here.

If you’re outside the age range but are interested in contributing to their cause, City Year is always accepting supplies to help with their mentoring efforts. Visit City Year Detroit’s website here for more information.

Related: New coalition in Detroit aims to reduce child poverty in the city