Hear from alum Arianna Neromiliotis share her story about the Beloved Alumni Community.
Martin Luther King National Day of Service is a favorite among City Year AmeriCorps members and the City Year Alumni community. It represents a day to put our pledge to serve in action and allow our idealism to shine. It’s an opportunity for the entire City Year community to come together, reflect and celebrate with their local sites or travel to experience service and deepen connections in other City Year communities.
For five of the past seven MLK Day weekends, I’ve left my home in Philadelphia to serve in New Orleans with my fellow alumni from across the country for Alumni Service Weekend. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans nearly ten years ago, Hamilton Simons-Jones (Boston '97), then Director of Community Service for Tulane University, along with several other alumni asked the question: "How can City Year alumni play in a role in supporting New Orleans?" Together they created Alumni Service Weekend, with the mission to connect Alumni from Seattle to Boston to address pressing community needs, build the beloved community and support the development of City Year New Orleans through service and civic engagement.
This past year, our alumni team joined City Year New Orleans and 200 corporate and community volunteers at John Dibert Community School to design three inspiring bulletin boards. On Saturday, alumni served with St. Bernard Project to spackle and muddle drywall to help rehabilitate a family home.
Every year, I get to honor New Orleans’ unique culture and beautiful history with my fellow alumni. As New Orleans emerges from Hurricane Katrina, I have been able to see firsthand the steps in rebuilding the city. Next year marks 10 years for Alumni Service Weekend, and I can’t wait to celebrate with my fellow alumni!”
Here are a few other reflections from other Alumni Board Members and staff from the weekend:
“Reconnecting with the love of service. Reconnecting with others who share the passion for positive change. Reconnecting with friends.” - Greg Payne (New York ’04), Co-Chair, City Year National Alumni Advisory Board (2009-2011)
“I have always loved the way this weekend refocuses the path City Year put me on as an AmeriCorps member 8 years ago and this year was no exception. This experience in particular has helped me see how far I've come since serving in the corps.” Hannah Tutak (New York ’07), Alumni Board Member, City Year Baton Rouge (2013-Present)
“Every time alumni come together in New Orleans for Alumni Service Weekend, we honor and build upon the legacy of alumni who came together in January 2006 as founding corps members and staff to heroically launch City Year Louisiana (now two sites in Baton Rouge and New Orleans). The best part is forging strong relationships over the last 9 years to the city, to its unique culture, to City Year New Orleans and each other as alumni leaders.” - Sean McDevitt (Boston ’02), Senior Director, Alumni & Career Services
By Arianna Neromiliotis
City Year Greater Philadelphia ’00, ’01
Alumni Board Member, City Year Greater Philadelphia, 2008-Present
Alumni Board Chair, City Year Greater Philadelphia, 2009-2012