By Bryan Brown, Team Leader, Comcast NBC Universal Civic Engagement Team

My friends occasionally ask “You’re still with that nonprofit where you, like, mentor and tutor kids, right?”

“Yeah, I’m still with City Year,” I’ll respond.

“…Then why are you covered in paint?”

Allow me to introduce you to the Comcast NBCUniversal Civic Engagement Team.  Not that we’re new, we’ve been a part of City Year Los Angeles from the start.  We’re just not the typical City Year team you usually hear about when you’re reading about the amazing in school work that corps members do for students across LAUSD.

Our team, simply referred to as CE, is a small but mighty team of six second-year corps members and a sole program manager. Rather than lead a team at one of our partner schools, as the rest of the second year corps members do, we bring about positive change through school beautification projects.  We’ll organize and complete about twenty of them by the time our year of service is through.

For each project, in which we partner with a variety of companies such as Morgan Stanley, Boeing, and AEG, we meet with the school principal and establish the school’s needs and wants.  We then organize a service day full of mural painting, light construction, and gardening to make those dreams a reality.  On the day of our event, employees from our corporate partners volunteer, and together, in but a few short hours, we entirely transform a school’s environment.

Our work is consistently exciting and rewarding for so many reasons.   It allows for the non-profit and for-profit worlds to unite around a common cause of making our city a better place.  It shows just how fast, fun, and easy it can be to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  Moreover, with what we accomplish in just three years we provide a glimpse into just how much City Year corps members can accomplish in 10 months of full time service.  Most importantly, through these school beautification projects, we’re able to reach and make a difference for far more students and schools than we’re able to serve through our in school service alone.

We may be a little more paint splattered than the rest of the corps.  Sunburned and sawdust caked too, depending on the day.  We may not be what you’d picture when you think of City Year or the work you imagine our corps doing.  We on the Comcast NBCUniversal Team all look back fondly on our first years of service, where we tutored and mentored, but this year we’re making our difference in a different way: one mural at a time.

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