City Year connects volunteers with Detroit students in need

Education nonprofit connects young adults

DETROIT – An education nonprofit is connecting young adults willing to give a year of their life to help with students who need the guidance.

City Year AmeriCorps members have been helping students at Burns Elementary-Middle School on Detroit’s west side. 

“This is a way to serve your country in a way that's different from the military or going overseas.” said Andrew Stein, City Year Detroit executive director.

Volunteers are typically 18-25 years-old, and can choose different cities around the country to work in. Right now, Detroit has 71 members helping 7 different schools.

“We have an education crisis in our country,” Stein said, “and young people are willing to stand up and say I will spend a year of my life working fulltime in a school who has a tutor, mentor and role model.

Na’te Braswell, a 23-year-old who is still finishing her college degree, says that being young helps the students relate to her and feel more comfortable.

“Teachers -- they can't help everybody at one time,” Braswell said. “So to have that extra support in the classroom is like a weight off their shoulders.”

“We're always measuring our impact and we've seen that schools that have City Year are 2-to-3 times more likely to improve on their state math and literacy assessments than similar schools that don't have City Year.” said Stein. 

City Year plans to expand their members in Detroit from 71 to 140 over the next three years. If that goal is met, they can be working in 13 schools in the city, which would help approximately 10,000 students every day.

"One of the ways it helped me was by giving me more confidence." said 8th grader Montrez Bates. "I know people are around to help me when I need it the most."

A year of service with City Year gives members a $6 thousand grant toward their education. You can find more information on the program on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.