Working as a Regional Recruitment Manager with City Year, Clinton School graduate Jasmine Medley travels to colleges and universities throughout Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee to share information about City Year with impending graduates.
Medley, who has served in her current role since 2017, is in her second stint with City Year after spending a year with the organization as a project leader following her graduation from Rhodes College.
“We do so much field work at the Clinton School, I feel like that year (with City Year) helped prepare me for the amount of field work I would be doing,” Medley said. “Also, that year got me ready to interact with different people,” Medley said.
Communicating with different groups of people is a skill Medley has honed and prioritized in her career. She speaks to groups from different colleges and universities regularly, and one lesson in particular from her time at the Clinton School stands out.
“I took an advocacy class with Christy Standerfer,” Medley said. “Toward the beginning of the semester that year, she said something that was really simple but really profound: ‘Know your audience.’”
That ability to know her audience – and connect in various settings – served her well as she traveled to Jordan to work with We Love Reading for her International Public Service Project.
“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my project but I wanted to go to the Middle East,” Medley said. “I just had this urge to make sure that people are heard regardless of their cultural upbringing or race or religion, but particularly religion. My undergraduate degree is in religious studies. When I got to the Clinton School, I knew I wanted to go somewhere totally different.”
For her final Capstone project, she returned to Little Rock to work with Just Communities of Arkansas to develop more anti-bullying programming for teachers and students.
How were you initially connected with City Year?
City Year Little Rock came to the city during my senior year of high school, so I first learned about it then. A friend of mine from Rhodes was going to City Year in Baton Rouge, so after talking to her I decided to apply in Little Rock. I got in and was offered the chance to interview for a leadership position in City Year. There were six of us on my team and we were in charge of civic engagement projects. We put together monthly service projects all around central Arkansas. My team worked in an elementary school in North Little Rock, so we spent our morning with our kids at our school, then we came back to our office to do all of the ground work, planning, and logistics for our monthly service projects.
What attracted you to the Clinton School?
The year that City Year came to Little Rock was the same year the Clinton Library opened and the first class of the Clinton School enrolled. I knew about it, but it wasn’t until about midway through college that I thought, “Yes, I want to do this.” Public service is something that has always been important to me, because of my faith. For me, public service always meant doing something for others, helping others live at their fullest potential.
I knew that there was a classroom aspect, but it was mostly experiential learning, and I wanted to be a part of that. By the time my senior year of college came around, I wanted to go to the Clinton School because, I thought, “I’ve got these book smarts and I understand how things work in theory, but I want to put this theory into practice.”
What were some of your standout experiences at the Clinton School?
The biggest thing that stands out for me was my IPSP. Before that, I had never gone outside of the country. That was part of the reason I wanted to go to the Clinton School – I knew that I would be pushed out of my comfort zone.
That time that I spent in Jordan was huge and life-changing because I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I was eight time zones away from family and friends and everything I’ve ever known. Culturally, it was different, but to get there and see it for myself – I just fell in love with that country. I still, to this day, almost eight years later, have people from there that I stay in touch with. It helped me to see what was out there, but it also just reminded me that I can do anything.
What was the work like with your IPSP organization?
I got to work with a literacy organization that helped get kids excited about reading for leisure. In Jordan, the culture is not such that people read for fun. Everybody reads, but they don’t necessarily go to the library to get a book because they’re interested in knowing more about a subject. This organization helped get kids excited about reading and other productive things that would make them more marketable and better citizens in the communities in Jordan.