According to City Year Dallas Executive Director Heather Holland,
“While serving as a principal in Dallas ISD, I knew that despite the hard work and dedication of teachers and principals across Dallas, schools are often unable to fully provide for the needs of their students. That’s why after a decade as an educator, I joined City Year Dallas where I lead our efforts to bridge the gap between what students and families need and what schools can provide.
“At City Year Dallas, we serve 5,000 Dallas ISD students primarily in South Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove. We do this through our ‘Corps Members,’ diverse young adults ages 18 – 25, often taking a gap year before college or thinking about pursuing a career in education. Corps Members serve side-by-side with a teacher full-time throughout the school year to provide additional academic, social emotional, and attendance support for students. Corps Members also team up to provide whole school supports such as after school tutoring, clubs, and morning greetings for the entire campus.
“While we have incredible educators working to make an impact on our students, programs like City Year provide hands-on support that is an integral and critical part of the day-to-day operations of a campus. In fact, 100% of our partner principals agree that Corps Members play a critical role in supporting student engagement. Academically, students supported by our Corps Members outpaced their peers in both math and reading growth.
“I recently had an opportunity to connect with Paris Nguyen, a returning Corps Member serving at Maple Lawn Elementary School to learn about her experience last year.
“According to Paris, ‘My goal to work in higher education is what drew me to move across the country to join City Year. Last year, I had the opportunity to serve in a 4th grade math classroom. One of the highlights of my year was working with Elle, a student who came in with significant gaps in math, lacking basic skills including multiplication. To support her, I built a relationship by spending time with Elle at recess and connecting during ‘brain breaks.’ Through this connection, I helped Elle self-identify when she needed a moment to refocus. My partner teacher and I created a plan to support students like Elle including Saturday school, after school tutoring, and rewards like lunch with me and other Corps Members. Through these efforts, we were able to help build Elle’s confidence and her math skills which blossomed as she earned an 88% or ‘masters’ on her 4th grade math STAAR exam.’
“Paris has chosen to serve a second year with City Year to continue her work with students. The impact Paris and others make on their students would not be possible without the support of the Dallas community and the generous support received through North Texas Giving Day. As part of North Texas Giving Day, Santander Consumer USA Foundation will generously match up to $50,000 of donations, doubling the impact of those that make a gift in support of our work.”
Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day helps build awareness and support for nonprofits like nothing else. In 2021, $66 million was raised through 103,000 donors benefiting over 3,300 local nonprofits, bringing the 13-year total to over $441 million for our community. NTx Giving Day is the largest community-wide giving event in the nation.