Why They Serve: Meet Kristen Vann

Kristen Vann (left), UNCA professor, Dr. Dee James (middle), and fellow UNCA/Ghana program alum Kari Slagle (right) at Graduation

Kristen Vann, Asheville, North Carolina 

I am inspired to serve with City Year because of my adviser Dr. Dee James, who has encouraged me to make the most of my education and to pursue my dreams. She was my Freshman writing teacher, my adviser for many projects, and a program leader for the study abroad program I was a part of in Ghana. There she became, Nana Dee. She has made a profound difference in my life and work, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Ever since I was a Freshman in college, she has taught me to appreciate story. Stories connect us to the world and to each other in powerful ways. When I read all of City Year’s founding stories, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the corps and the culture of City Year. I am excited to stand up for the values I believe in and to be united with other folks who see the world around them and desire to change it for the better. Because of Nana Dee, I know that I can do the work that needs to be done.

The most important thing I have learned from our relationship is that sometimes you need someone else to believe in you before you can believe in yourself. Dr. Dee has constantly believed in me throughout every step of my undergraduate career and my appreciation for her is unmeasurable. If I can be half of the mentor, teacher, and motivator that she has been for me, I know I will make a difference in many student’s lives.

Stay tuned to the City Year Chicago Blog all summer to meet the 2012-2013 Chicago Corps or visit “Meet the Incoming Corps” for a snapshot!


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