By Lucas Holmes, ’14

Why do a year of City Year service?

All corps members inevitably are asked this question during their service year. Ten months ago I fumbled to piece together a satisfactory response, but now, with my first year of service behind me, my experience has become a robust affirmation of my decision to join City Year.

For blurry-eyed college students who, like me, desired to plunge into meaningful, impactful work right out of college, yet weren’t sure how to do that, City Year presents an amazing opportunity.

City Year has a dual-function as both a service and learning and development organization for its corps members. A significant factor in my decision to serve with City Year right after college and return next year as a Service Leader on the Foundation To Be Named Later Boston Civic Engagement Team has been City Year’s demonstrated commitment to the well-being and success of its AmeriCorps members and its employees. Not only does City Year foster a year of growth and positivity for us during our service year, but the organization also strives to set us up for success beyond our time at City Year. From events, trainings, and information sessions with external partners to mentoring and frequent meetings with Program Managers and Team Leaders, the “Leadership After City Year” (LACY) program provides a comprehensive support system to its corps members throughout their service year.

Much of my success securing a second year of service with City Year, and feeling well-prepared for the employment process after City Year can be attributed to the LACY program. We were offered the time and the space to think about what we wanted to do after our service year. Meeting with the leadership of my team helped me navigate my corps experience as well as think about my plans for the future. When the time came to make decisions about where to apply it was my team leadership who encouraged me to consider serving a senior corps year.

Earlier in the year City Year meticulously matched corps members with mentors, and I was fortunate enough to receive a mentor who previously served with City Year and now works at the City Year’s Headquarters for Idealism. During the LACY process of filling out applications and interviewing, my mentor reviewed and offered feedback on my resume, cover letters, and essays, helped me prepare for the interviews, and offered useful advice. My frequent meetings with my mentor gave me the reassurance I needed to be successful in my LACY pursuits.

So why serve with City Year?

Based on my experience, City Year is an investment. You end up gaining more than you give; in fact, I would argue that you don’t really lose anything, except for some sleep. Serving with City Year provides you with invaluable experience, amazing support, and maybe even a less blurry vision of your future.

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