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City Year Los Angeles works to bridge the gap in under-resourced communities when it comes to the lack of equitable access to educational opportunities, with help from its AmeriCorps members like Chailen August.

August's assistance in carrying out that mission is why he was recently recognized as the Rams' 11th' pLAymaker honoree.

"It means a lot, because the Rams, they did a lot for the community I grew up in, being in Inglewood and seeing SoFi (Stadium) being built up," August said. "And being a playmaker for the Rams kind of makes me feel like an NFL player, that sounds kind of cool. The same way players are making plays on the field, we're making plays in the classroom, we're making plays to understand the material so we can teach it back to them and tutor them."

August and other City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps members team up with teachers and schools to foster an environment where students are able to build on their strengths and fully engage in their learning.

That partnership has had a tangible impact on L.A. students' grades and attendance. According to the organization's website, across a five-year period, 77 percent of Virgil Middle School students who worked one-on-one with City Year improved from off-track (D or F) to on-track (C or above in English. Additionally, 69 percent of Roosevelt High School students who worked with City Year in the same capacity met or exceeded their growth goals in math. City Year L.A.'s student attendance interventions aided schools in recovering 16,500 days' worth of instruction.

"Just to build equitable spaces for children and to really help under-resourced communities help bridge the gap, and help them get to the next levels," August said of City Year L.A.'s mission. "For us, this would be getting them to college, and just making sure that everybody has the same opportunity, because not everything's the same everywhere you go. I'm sure the kids in Santa Monica, they got a lot more resources than the kids here at Jefferson. So City Year's mission to make sure that no one's being left behind."

For August, inspire change has been his personal motto his entire life.

"I got three little sisters, so the word inspire for me is just to be able to influence people's decisions in a positive way, and to be able to get people to just be who they are, and see the importance in things like education, to see the importance of things in taking care of your business," August said. "I think that's something that's always been preached to me. So I try to inspire the same way people inspired me growing up."

And when it comes to inspiring change in one's own community, August offers a simple strategy.

"I think just being a human. I think that's the main thing," August said. "Everybody got somewhere with some help, no one did it by themselves. So inspiring change is simply being a good a human, and making sure that no one is being left behind."

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