Saif Ishoof is keen on his cadre of 17- to 24-year-old volunteers who are helping to turn around the lives of high school kids
Saif Y. Ishoof is fanatical about students. Close to his heart are students who skip school, who can't handle English and math, and who come from poverty-stricken homes.
Mr. Ishoof lives to help them, along with volunteers he calls his "core members" — 17- to 24-year-olds from South Florida and across the nation — who take a year off from their lives to mentor and tutor students in Miami-Dade public schools.
Mr. Ishoof is executive director of City Year, an organization that partners with Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and teachers and parents in taking on the system's toughest task — keeping students on the path to graduation.
City Year volunteers are known in the communities by their red jackets with the organization's logo.
"Some people said when they see the red jacket it's like a lifejacket that's able to reach into the ocean of impossibilities that lies out there," he said. "We want to invest and be able to unlock the potential of those students and get them back on track, so they can graduate on track with their peers."
City Year's 2012 group of 134 volunteers served more than 3,000 students. But Mr. Ishoof wants to do more during the 2012-13 school year. With 200 volunteers, "We'd be able to serve an additional 2,000 students in Miami-Dade County."
Mr. Ishoof talked about City Year, a national organization founded in Boston, and the work his young cadre of volunteers is doing in the public school system here with Miami Today's Lou Ortiz.
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