WMS Senior Describes Her Gap Year Plans

Mikaela Houghton ’11 shares plans for next year and explains how they will help her reach her goals.
WMS Senior Mikaela Houghton has quite an exciting post-graduation adventure ahead of her. Not only has she been accepted to Global College of Long Island University with a placement in Costa Rica, but she has also been accepted to a competitive year-long service program called City Year. Mikaela has chosen to take a gap year and provide 10 months of service in New York City through City Year before heading to Costa Rica in 2012. Additionally, before moving to NYC to participate in City year, Mikaela is going to teach English in Kozarac, Bosnia this summer. Congratulations Mikaela!

Mikaela is a fantastic community member. She’s a strong student, an International Student Mentor, and a leader in Yearbook Club among other things. She also provided many hours of community service in the Littleton, NH area this winter.

Here’s what she has to say about her gap year plans:

“I have always been interested in community service, so I wanted to incorporate that into my college education. However, I realized it would be difficult to dedicate time to service in college due to my heavy course load. While researching gap year programs, I found City Year.  I fell in love with the program, and was instantly drawn to it.
 
City Year unites 18-24 year olds from all over the world to live and work in 22 cities around the world. This year, they have about 1,750 young adults participating in 3 million hours of community service. Their main focus is working in public schools, however they do other projects as well. City Year members serve as tutors, mentors, and role models with the goal of keeping kids on track to graduate from high school. In addition to programs in schools, City Year members paint murals, reestablish schools, plant gardens and renovate play spaces. City Year Corps members lead after-school, vacation and leadership development activities to teach children that they are truly an important part of their community. Corps Members work in various projects five days a week, from about 8am-6pm.
 
“Since its inception, City Year has graduated more than 13,700 alumni; served 1,135,000 children; completed more than 23.2 million hours of service and engaged more than 1,066,000 citizens in service.”
 
I applied in December, knowing that most of the adults that apply had already received their Bachelor’s Degree. I also knew that for every five applicants, only one is selected. After two interviews, I received an email on March 1st stating that I would be one of the 200 City Year Corps Members in New York City. I am scheduled to report on August 8th for 10 months of service!
 
City Year is a sister program of AmeriCorps, and operates similarly. At the end of my City Year service, I will receive a $5,500 grant towards my college education. I will begin college in Costa Rica with Global College of Long Island University, majoring in Global Studies. I am working towards the goal of becoming a United States Ambassador, Global Studies teacher or an International Journalist, and think City Year will give me the tools to help me accomplish these goals.
 
Mikaela, congratulations and good luck next year! We look forward to receiving updates from you in the big city! City Year sounds like a fantastic program, and definitely a great way to help you achieve your future career goals. Keep up the good work!

-Molly Radis

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