Recent Graduate Shines in Rochester Youth Year Program
When Stephanie Moss entered St. John Fisher College, she took on a dual major studying International Studies and Sociology. She was a very active member of the campus community, and participated in the Black Student Union, Latino Student Union, Students With A Vision, and served as president of Arts in Motion during her senior year.
She was set to graduate in May of 2011, when she heard about the Rochester Youth Year (RYY) Fellowship Program, an Americorps*VISTA-sponsored program administered by the Rochester Regional Network, which is a consortium of seven local colleges. Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, the University of Rochester, and Fisher are all part of the consortium. RYY places talented recent graduates of these colleges at community-based organizations for one year to create or expand initiatives that address the various challenges facing youth and families in Rochester.
Moss was placed at East High School here in Rochester, and has accomplished so much in a short amount of time.
Her main task has been to work with the high school students and “manifest ideas about clubs and volunteerism,” and educate them on how they can become active members of their school community. By November of 2011, she worked with a small group of East High students to launch “East Takes Action,” a community service and service-learning club. Moss also worked with the students to apply for a grant from Youth As Resources, which they were able to secure. The club is now in the process of reaching out to community organizations and will be creating a service-learning project.
In addition, Moss is working with the local American Red Cross in an effort to have a Red Cross Club at East High School, where students will educate peers about the organization and hold blood drives.
Working as an RYY fellow has made Moss think twice about her next step in life, and she now plans to pursue a master’s degree in education. She says the experience has made a big impact on her life, and that she’ll miss it when her time with the program comes to an end in July.
“I always knew I wanted to do something with social awareness after college, I really wanted to give back before going to the real world. I know now my passion is to work with kids,” said Moss.
RYY was founded in 2007, and since its inception, has had 38 fellows complete a year of service in pursuit of the program’s mission at 22 different community partner organizations. In 2008, it became an AmeriCorps*VISTA-funded project, and in those three years, has mobilized over 2,500 community volunteers who have logged nearly 38,000 hours of service. Many fellows have also chosen to stay in the Rochester area after graduating from the program.
For more information about the Rochester Youth Year program and how to apply, visit the RYY website. Interested Fisher students should contact Sally Vaughan, Director of Community Service at St. John Fisher College, at (585) 385-8196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.