By Deyanira Gonzalez serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal team with the Jeremiah E. Burke High School

“Why did you leave California for Boston?” is a question I hear often when people learn where I’m from. More recently, I’m being reminded of this question as wintertime approaches and I leave for service every morning wishing it were 70 degrees outside. I’m from the Central Coast of California where the general rule of thumb is; if the weather is below 60 degrees, your outfit will probably consist of Ugg boots and a jacket.  

When I applied to City Year, one of the more personally challenging aspects was selecting where I would serve. I had the option of selecting from across 28 City Year sites nationwide or being randomly placed based on site need. One early piece of City Year advice that helped me make my decision, and which I strive to embody (or at least try to) is a PITW (Putting Idealism to Work: a collection of words of wisdom to guide us through our year of service). In particular PITW #66 which says “do three ‘squishy’ things a day,” squishy, in this sense, being something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, helped me finally make the move out of California. Before I arrived in Boston in the beginning of August, I had never been anywhere east of Colorado, so it was a daunting prospect from the start. However, after a lot of research, and conversations with family and friends I was able to narrow it to two opposite locations: Los Angeles and Boston. 

In the spirit of being “squishy” I decided to take a risk and move to Boston, where I could learn and grow while doing something I was passionate about in a completely new environment. Luckily for me, my family was and continues to be very supportive of my decision to move across the country. Even as the weather slowly changes, the days become longer, and the question of why I moved begins to resurface again, my students are what make my days worth it. I am very proud and humbled to be serving in the beautiful community of Dorchester with my amazing team at the Burke High School. And I am very much reassured that City Year Boston is the place to be.

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