Saturday, September 20, 2014

Volunteers Are Always Ready

Photo Credit: A Whispered Wish

Yesterday, September 19, I had the honor to attend City Year Los Angeles' Opening Day at Los Angeles City Hall.  The purpose was to introduce and recognize the 288 young people who are giving their lives to City Year, an AmeriCorps program, for the next 365 days in service to underfunded Los Angeles schools.  I say "their lives," because this is no regular job or internship.  These volunteers do receive some funding for their education as a reward for their service, but no amount of funding can show the time, love, dedication, spirit, energy, heartbreak, sweat (especially today in the heat of LA), tears, compassion, and heart that these corps members put into the youth of the city in which they serve.  This isn't a job where you can leave your work at the school site; City Year corps members truly care about the students and teachers they work with in order to make a difference in education.  Corps members are our future teachers and leaders.  That's why when someone asks a City Year member: "Are you ready?"  The answer is: "Volunteers are always ready!"

City Year mentors work inside classrooms to decrease the dropout rate and increase the support a student needs to succeed.  The 2014-2015 Los Angeles Corps will be working in 25 schools to impact over 5,000 elementary, middle, and high school students using a "Whole School, Whole Child" model.  When City Year asks: "How are you feeling?"  The proper response is: "Fired up!"  Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a proud City Year LA supporter since its launch in 2007, got fired up in his yellow corps jacket for the occasion:

Photo Credit: A Whispered Wish

AmeriCorps recently celebrated its 20th year in service, highlighted by reaching over 51 million people on social media about what it means to dedicate your life to serve others.  According to the AmeriCorpsImpact website: "More than 900,000 Americans have served more than 1 billion hours over the past 20 years.  Thousands of communities and millions of Americans have benefited from their service."  Service is something that goes beyond politics; the families of Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Bush have all come together on this topic.

Photo Credit: AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary

Most of us are too old to join a City Year program now, but we can all take the modified AmeriCorps pledge:

I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an American, and I will get things done.

No comments:

Post a Comment