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Harry and Ruby: AmeriCorps Service during COVID

Ruby and Harry are AmeriCorps Promise Fellows serving at Augsburg Fairview Academy and shared a bit about what their service has been like this year!

What has been the most enjoyable or rewarding part about being an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow? 
Ruby: “When selecting my site for service, I had no idea what to expect from serving at Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA), a charter high school in north Minneapolis. Little did I know that I would soon be part of a community that was incredibly dedicated, funny, and welcoming. The staff and teachers celebrate every student’s success and never stop trying to create new ways to improve distance and hybrid learning for students. The students at AFA are impossible to describe in a few adjectives, but they are the true heart of the school’s community.”

Harry: “The school climate at Augsburg Fairview Academy  can be really fun, especially since it’s such a small staff. It’s pretty easy to build relationships with other staff members and we all know each other by first name. I live a few blocks from the school, which is part of the reason I chose this site, and I really enjoy being a part of the students’ community.”

What do you look forward to each day?
Ruby: “It will be no surprise that with the recent switch to distance learning that it became harder to connect with students. Students are still struggling to adapt to online learning and many of our students try to balance school work amongst a myriad of obligations and priorities. So, any day that I am able to connect with a student and help them do a little coursework, get them connected to some of the school’s resources, or just help them celebrate finishing up some recent artwork. That is a fantastic day.”

Harry: “I relish every chance I get to talk with a student directly. Because of the pandemic, building relationships with students has been pretty hard, so when we do interact it’s even more special. Meeting with students always brightens my day, even after difficult conversations, and especially now with social isolation practices. Interactions range from video chatting with a student to work on school assignments to Facebook messaging a student to coordinate mailing them a bus card.”

What is one way you’ve been able to be creative and flexible in supporting students virtually?
Ruby: “Harry and I, with the support of AFA, have tried many different ways to support students virtually. Many have failed, a few have succeeded. Recently, our school hosted a virtual Family Night and students logged onto a google meet and then we all played the game Among Us. Seeing and hearing students’ excited voices as they shouted about who was the hidden assassin or who was “us” was definitely a high point for me this year.
Harry: “We’ve been delivering meals to students who request them, which has extended into a more direct way of connecting with them. Meal deliveries open avenues of communication that help us identify students’ needs, and barriers that prevent them from completing schoolwork. We can then work with them to have their needs met and to overcome the barriers.”
Thank you for your AmeriCorps service, Harry and Ruby!

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