Samantha Koller, NYC Civic Corps member
I graduated from Boston College in 2007 with a BA in philosophy, and have since been working as a Juvenile Court Clinic Program Coordinator and a friendly neighborhood Barista.
My grandparents were all from the Bronx, so I’m proud to be working there. I am developing a tutoring program for the youth and adults served by the Phipps Community Development Corporation in West Farms. The neighborhood we are serving is the poorest of the 435 Congressional districts in the United States, with 42% of its residents living below the federal poverty line: that’s $22,050 for a family of four. Our program will recruit and train volunteer teaching supervisors and tutors to provide homework help, SAT prep, pre-GED, and ESL tutoring to the community.
I feel privileged to be part of the Corps. I came to New York because I believe that we, as a Corps and as a generation, have an opportunity to be innovators in social service. I’ve tried to volunteer with various organizations and have been dropped several times, either inadvertently or due to program capacity. With so many competing demands, it’s difficult for organizations to maintain volunteer programs. It’s up to us as a Corps to create these opportunities and to make them sustainable, agency-by-agency. If we come up with some interesting, unique, and effective program models in the process, that would be great. If I acquire the skills I need to do this for a living, that would be even better.