Committing to Community: Dudley Promise Corps Member Enters 2nd Year of Service
This post originally appeared in Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s newsletter, the Dudley Beat.
Naomi Bones, a corps member, has served at Dudley Street School this academic year and will return next year for her second year of service. She lives in the Dudley area and her two children are students at the school.
What drew you to apply to Dudley Promise Corps?
Last year I came to an event in my daughter’s K-1 class and saw the flyer advertising DPC. I’d been working in a local café and wanted to transition to working with kids. I had been interested in a program similar to DPC, but it ran after school, and I needed to work during the day and be home with my kids after school ends. I wanted to be a part of strengthening my own community, and I liked the convenience of working right in my neighborhood.
As a DPC member, tell us about your work with students, and what has been most meaningful.
We run a reading program with students called “Reading Partners.” We get one-on-one time with students and we get to know them as people and as learners. I love seeing their reading skills transfer into the classroom. I often observe students in their classrooms and think, “Hey, I taught her how to do that!”
We also run a structured play time called Playmakers. It really makes our short recess time come to life. It sparks their imaginations and gives a needed break from learning. It also helps kids learn teamwork and breaks up friend groups so kids are playing all together.
Through my interactions with students, I have caught so many small moments — I get to be there for them in ways teachers don’t always have the time and bandwidth to do. I can think of one specific example of a boy who had been struggling at home. In our time together, he shared some of his personal life with me and I was able to listen to him, and also help him with tactics to self-regulate his emotions. We came up with “focus words” to help him get back on track with his learning.
What are your career hopes for the future?
I am excited to being serving with DPC again next year. I’d also like to use my AmeriCorps education grant to further my education. Maybe one day I’ll run a community center or be a counselor, but I do hope to stay at Dudley Street School for a long time. Our students need consistency and I want them to know they are worth coming back for. They ask all of the members if they are coming back next year. Their faces light up when we say “yes”.
Serve alongside Naomi as she enables neighborhood students to reach their potential. Dudley Promise Corps is currently accepting applicants for the coming academic year at Dudley Street School and Dearborn STEM Academy. For more information, please visit bpe.org/schools/promisecorps