As the service year adviser for City Year Cleveland and City Year Columbus, Christina Bowerman ’13 supports applicants to the education nonprofit organization, some of whom are fellow College of Wooster students.
City Year places members who are doing a year of service through AmeriCorps, a public service program, in high-need public schools to provide additional support to students. “I know that when I get a Wooster applicant that they have what it takes to be a committed and dedicated AmeriCorps member,” Bowerman said. “A lot of this stems from the determination and grit needed to write Independent Study.”
Bowerman, who was a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and religious studies double major at Wooster, said that the College prepared her well for her first position with City Year as an AmeriCorps service member in Cleveland. “Wooster prepared me for City Year because through all four years, but specifically junior and senior year, I had to manage my time efficiently in order to complete everything needed of me,” she said. “Working in City Year is a fast-paced environment and Wooster taught me how to thrive but also set boundaries and take care of myself.”
In her current position as the service year adviser, Bowerman supports applicants to the program with interview preparation, relocation, and onboarding. One of the recent such applicants was Keira Wright ’21, an urban studies senior at the College who was accepted to City Year Cleveland for the upcoming school year.
Wright, who will be mentoring and tutoring students to help them reach academic standards, also explained how Wooster has prepared her well to take on this position. “I’ve taken a variety of courses about social inequity and injustice, mostly as part of my urban studies major, so I feel like I have a good academic background with regard to the issues that many of the students and public schools in Cleveland face,” she said.
Wright has also developed a commitment to social justice through her involvement with the Living Wage Campaign on campus, a group working to implement a living wage for all staff at the College. “Wooster has fostered my passion and interest in social justice and allowed me to learn and grow a lot as a person,” Wright said. She is excited to continue to both help others and learn more about herself in her position at City Year. “Ultimately if I’m helping at least one kid grow up to have a better future or have more opportunities by keeping up in school, I’ll feel like I’ve really made a difference,” Wright said. “I think a lot of the most difficult things are often the most valuable, and I’m looking forward to learning and growing while I complete my service.”
Wright connected with Bowerman after accepting her offer to serve in Cleveland and the two discovered they had lived in the same dorm on campus. “I found it very comforting to know that someone at City Year understood the unique experience provided by attending Wooster,” Wright said. “It made me less nervous about settling in, making connections, and asking questions because we already have that Wooster connection.”
For more information about City Year, visit www.cityyear.org.