Jose Rodriguez is new to Philadelphia after spending three years with College Possible Omaha. He was an AmeriCorps member at College Possible for two years and a Program Coordinator for one more before joining the Philadelphia team. He is pleased to continue working for College Possible and do his part in helping students gain access to and succeed in college. Below is part two of an interview with Jose talking about his journey with AmeriCorps and College Possible.
What’s been the most exciting thing for you, now in your fourth year?
“I think the most exciting thing was actually taking the leap and moving to Philadelphia. Leaving Omaha was really exciting. Specifically, with AmeriCorps, the first student I ever recruited is now a father in college, and it’s great to have seen him grow over the last three years. We stay in contact, and I wasn’t ever his coach, simply just recruited him, but he still keeps in contact with me so it’s really good to see him grow.”
What would you tell someone who is interested in serving with AmeriCorps / College Possible?
“Do it. Especially with College Possible. If you’re into working against education inequality, or want to do a term of service, College Possible is the place to do it. You will learn a lot. I know people who came in with the intention of doing one year, stayed, fell in love with the students, and switched their whole outlook on life. Now they want to do nonprofit education, as opposed to becoming a lawyer. I think the professional development that we offer here at College Possible is also a reason to join. You’re fresh out of college, and unless you were brought up ready for the workforce, I think having an environment where everyone’s the same age is really nice. Your supervisor is not too much older than you either, and we know how to get you prepared for after your time with College Possible.”
Any stories / memories from your time with AmeriCorps / College Possible that stick out to you?
“When I was a Junior Coach, I had a student who was a foster student. He was sometimes homeless, in and out school, in and out of his house; he had no stable home. And then for the ACT practice exam, I have to have 100% student attendance, so of course I was worried about him. I called the night before and he didn’t answer. I assumed then that he wasn’t going to come and was really worried. So I show up to the school at like six in the morning and the door’s locked. I’m already frustrated and my student comes and opens the door for me. He was already at the school at 6 o’clock in the morning, wearing the same clothes from the day before. You could tell that he slept there. I asked him, ‘What’re you doing here?’ and he then told me at around one in the morning he saw a tweet about the ACT practice exam and decided to come to the school and sleep there. It was amazing that he got himself there.
Any last things you want to say to prospective members about your time with AmeriCorps / College Possible?
“I know living off the stipend can be challenging, but the education award is great, and what you learn here at College Possible will take you a long, long way.”