What am I doing Next Year?
For those who didn't see my previous post or do not know, I will be taking a gap year! See here. I will be taking my gap year with City Year, a program through AmeriCorps in New York City! Find out more about what I will do by clicking here!
Here are some highlights of what I'll do in the program:
-Make attendance and positive phone calls home and lead mentor groups
-Organize and lead activities, celebrations and projects to improve the community and school environment
-Team Based Service
-After School Program
Secondly, I will (Lord willing) help a church plant in Brooklyn, NY. I don't know exactly what my role will be with it, but I'm really excited about the church plant this is happening because it is different than the traditional church, and I believe that church has to be different than it is now, because most of my generation are non church-goers. When it comes down to it, it's not about going to church; it's about a relationship with Jesus, and the church model Mike and Nicole are implementing will help foster that. Even if I'm only with their church for a year, I will learn and take away things from it.
Why am I supposed to go to New York City? How do I know?
- Future goals- I want to be a teacher or work in the education system when I grow up. Doing City Year in NYC will be a great training ground for that. I consistently tutored a 5th grade student this last semester, and really enjoyed it. I know that I will get great experience working in under-performing NY schools full-time.
- Take Risks! At my graduation ceremony, our principal boldly told us to not live a safe life. If I stayed here for my gap year, I believe that I would be doing the safe and easy thing. Yes, it would still be beneficial, but I know that doing MN math corps will not stretch me like City Year will.
- I am young. I feel like it makes the most sense to do adventures like this when I am young, because I don’t have a family, any debt, or a house.
- Other signs- One week I felt that God was giving me little signs that NY is the thing for me. In school we had a Creative Expressions Night and we were required to decorate a room based on a theme. Each room is given a different theme, and the room I was placed in happened to be New York City! sweet. I spent that week looking for all things New York. I even made a fun, little NY skyline. Secondly, the whole idea of a gap year still scared me at the time; I needed affirmation that taking a gap year was the right thing. That week, one of the founders of Hope Academy spoke with all the seniors and said that he encouraged his kids to take a gap year. He believed taking a gap year to explore your interests is a wise and beneficial thing to do. I was glad to hear that!
- It won’t be easy! Challenges are what make me grow! Here are some of the challenges-
~It will force me to manage a tight budget
~To ask for help from others
~To live simply
~I will probably feel lonely
~I will be away from my family and people I know
~New York is intimidating. No more “Minnesota nice.”
~I will be around many people who are different than me.
- In February, God gave me a trip to visit the king's college in Manhattan. It was super exciting to see NYC for the first time. While I didn't feel like the college was for me, I loved the city! I kept in NYC in the back of my mind. I believe that God allowed me to visit so I would become excited about this city.
- Church Plant- Shortly after this trip in February, I learned that a couple was moving to Brooklyn, NYC to plant a church there. I thought that was the coolest thing! Nicole was the outreach coordinator at Tapestry, and she and her husband planted Hiawatha church. I wanted to support them in some capacity. More churches need to be planted! New York is a lost city. Find out more about this family by reading their blog.
- My personal excitement- New York is just an exciting place. My heart feels happy when I think about it. I'm generally a practical person, and it's strange that I have continued to be excited for NY for the last few months, because NYC is not a practical place to live.
- Answered Prayer- Here’s a story: The other night I had dinner with Mike and Nicole, the couple planting a church in Brooklyn. It was a nice time. At the end of it, we prayed that God would not let me be accepted into this program if it wasn’t God's will. We prayed this because City Year is fairly selective. They accept 20% of applicants, and most of them are college graduates, only a small percentage are high school graduates. The application process was also fairly difficult. I had to write essays, submit a resume, have letters of recommendation, and then do 2 phone interviews. I was supposed to hear whether I was accepted or not on June 7th, but I was notified the NEXT day. Whoa! That had to be God saying, "go!"
- Faith- This experience will grow my faith. I’m sure of it. How could it not? Moving forward I need to have faith that God will allow me to get out there safely, that he will hopefully place me in Brooklyn so I can be a part of the church plant, that he will give me people to be with, that he will give me the strength to DO city year for 10 months. There's a lot more that I need to depend on God for, but those are some of the main things.
I am SO excited! I can't believe this is happening!!!
What about money?
Will I be able to afford NYC? Yes! I will receive a living stipend and a college scholarship at
the end of the program to help pay for college. Living will be tight, but I’ll be able to do it!
Will I come back?
My plan is to come back after the year. I deferred my admission to the University of Minnesota, and I assume that after the year I will be ready to pursue my college degree.
When will I leave?I will leave the week of August 5th to 9th. How I'll get there is TBD.
How do my parents feel?
...I am still 17 after all. They were both slightly shocked. At first, my mom was pretty against it, I think my dad was too. However, we have good talks about it, and at our final discussion, they both came to an agreement, and by the sound of their voice, I felt like they were excited for me too.
Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions. I will write more on my blog this Summer, and I will definitely blog and post pictures of life in NYC this coming school year!