Evidence in Action: 10 Ways City Year AmeriCorps Members #MakeBetterHappen

Thanks to the persistence of social entrepreneurs across the country, every day we see strategies that are working and delivering results in a rapidly changing world. This Evidence in Action blog series highlights the voices of the more than 70 social innovation organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition, the results-driven solutions our community has to our country’s most pressing social problems, and the evidence-based federal programs that are critical to scaling the impact of this work. 

Today, America Forward Coalition organization City Year shares its blog post, 10 Ways City Year AmeriCorps Members #MakeBetterHappen, about the devastating impact eliminating AmeriCorps would have on students, schools, and communities served by City Year AmeriCorps Members. This post was originally published on the City Year National Blog on May 4, 2017.

When City Year AmeriCorps members #MakeBetterHappen, they work to help students reach their full potential every day. This year, more than 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members are serving full-time in schools across 28 U.S. cities, where they make positive connections with students and provide evidence-based, integrated academic and social-emotional supports. Using data, City Year AmeriCorps members collaborate with teachers to provide the right interventions to the right students at the right time while also helping schools reach their vision educational excellence for all students.

Built on a public-private partnership model, City Year is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), local school districts, and private philanthropy. We also rely on key federal investments in education, including Title I dollars, which we are able to receive from district partners because of the work we do to help students and teachers succeed.

The President recently released full details of his proposed FY18 budget that calls for the elimination of AmeriCorps and other national service programs run by the CNCS. If implemented, the loss of AmeriCorps would be devastating to the students, schools, and communities served by City Year.

We know that AmeriCorps works for students and schools nationwide—it’s in City Year’s data. Here are 10 of our favorite ways that City Year AmeriCorps members #MakeBetterHappen:

  1. 3,000+ City Year AmeriCorps members help students and schools succeed in 28 U.S. cities. City Year AmeriCorps members serve in a variety of communities across the country, from Seattle to Miami, and from New Orleans to New York.
  2. City Year serves 200,000+ students in 313 high-need schools.  City Year AmeriCorps members work in elementary, middle and high schools full-time, partnering with teachers to provide extra support to students who need it most, so that all children can reach their highest potential.
  3. 42 million hours served since 1988. More than 25,000 AmeriCorps members have served 42 million hours providing one-on-one or small group tutoring throughout the school day, organizing after school programming, making connections with families on student progress, and leading activities, celebrations, and projects to improve the school and community as a whole.
  4. City Year makes the most of every federal dollar. For every $1 federal funds received, City Year raises an additional $3 incorporate, philanthropic and local sources. City Year is not just a wise investment for those who serve with us – it’s also a wise financial investment for the federal government, unlocking valuable resources at a reduced cost to the federal government.
  5. Schools that partner with City Year are up to 2-3x more likely to improve on stateELA and math According to a recent national study by Policy Studies Associates, City Year partner schools were two times more likely to improve on state English language arts assessments and up to three times more likely math to improve on math assessments, compared with schools that did not partner with City Year.
  6. City Year and school partners help reduce chronic absenteeism – targeting students missing a month of school each year. A recent study on Diplomas Now, a collaboration of City Year, Communities In Schools and Talent Development Secondary, found that the partnership reduced chronic absenteeism in middle grades. City Year AmeriCorps members employ strategies and incentives to help students get to school every day ready to learn.
  7. A team of City Year AmeriCorps members delivers one month in learning gains. Teams of City Year AmeriCorps members arrive at school before the first bell rings and stay until the last student leaves the building. They provide extra instructional time that students need to succeed in school, strategizing with partner teachers to provide the right supports to the right students.
  8. 92% of teachers surveyed agree that City Year AmeriCorps members create a positive learning environment for students. One teacher states, “Our City Year corps members … form these amazing relationships where the kids are excited to come to school every day.” Watch how City Year AmeriCorps members positively impact students and schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  9. City Year builds pathways to post-secondary success. City Year AmeriCorps members earn $15 million in education awards each year to pay for college or pay back loans. 81 percent of alumni completed additional schooling after City Year largely in part to the Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which offers nearly $6,000 upon completion of a year of service to use for college or pay back loans. City Year alumni are also eligible to receive additional scholarships or matching grants at over 100 colleges and universities.
  10. 80% of alumni say City Year helped them gain practical skills they could apply to their careers. City Year alumni become leaders in education, non-profit organizations, medicine, law, government, the corporate sector, the arts and many other professions. Marcus McKoy, a City Year Los Angeles alumnus, says, “The two years I spent working with students in the classroom ignited a passion for youth work and gave me the skills to embark on a lifetime career in education.”

We need more opportunities for young people to serve with AmeriCorps – not fewer – so that we can continue to support the success of our students and schools while building the next generation of civically-minded leaders.

Add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #AmeriCorpsWorks, and visit Voices for National Service to ask your congressional leaders to maintain or grow the federal investment in AmeriCorps.

This post is part of America Forward’s Evidence in Action blog series. Follow along on Twitter with #EvidenceinAction and catch up on the series here.
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