Every year, City Year introduces a new theme…this year’s theme is RIPPLES.
Robert F. Kennedy said on June 6, 1966 during his Day of Affirmation Address at the University of Cape Town, “Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation… It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage… [and] … belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Everyone has the potential to create change. No matter how small we think our actions are, we have the ability to inspire others to create dramatic differences not just in our cities, but in the world. Standing up for what you believe in, no matter how people might perceive you is courageous in its own right. When enough people come together and act on our goals, ideas can manifest into reality. Our generation has the power to shape our society, where injustice, poverty, and discrimination will no longer be issues. Specifically, our terrific work at City Year has created a healthy environment where everyone is important and inspires those to share their passions through service. Together, we impact the youth of tomorrow to be ripples that benefit our communities and the lives of others through acts of kindness and the power of idealism. One of City Year’s ripples is the importance of leadership, creating an environment where our values and culture of idealism is enhanced through their hard work and perseverance. A leader's job is not to solve every problem alone, but to inspire those he or she leads to solve those problems.
In July, we had one of our first ripples of the year. Our Second Year AmeriCorps Members were going to find out what school they were placed in and what Impact Manager they would work with throughout the year to #makebetterhappen. Elena Korallis, new Impact Manager at Madison Middle School, tells us how she found out her partner. “After a few riddles based on City Year values that led the new Team Leaders (TL) around the office, the Impact Managers (IM) gave each TL a final clue to find who they would be working with for the next 10 months. The IMs scattered to different areas of the office and TLs had to match a photograph with that area. I watched as the new TLs, full of excitement, ran around (sometimes right past their IM) until they figured out who they would be working with. I was overjoyed to meet Jay, my Team Leader, and see how we would be a great balance for our team. When everyone was paired up, we powerfully introduced ourselves with our new positions and school placements for the first time.”
Raquel Sabater, new Team Leader and Senior AmeriCorps member at Miami Southridge Senior High School, tells us why she jumped up and down when she found out where and with who she would be serving this year. “Working at Southridge last year was amazing. My team was passionate and dedicate, but most of all, my students grew so much throughout the year. I was sad to let them go at the end of the year but I was happy knowing that they would be in great hands with the new City Year team coming in the fall. Little did I know that I would have the honor and privilege of going back to this school that is so close to my heart and help lead a team there. When I was walking around the City Year office, trying to follow my clue to find my Impact Manager I was anxious and excited. When I walked toward the part of the room that aligned with my clue and saw Morgan standing there, all my anxiety faded away and in its place was pure joy and anticipation for starting this journey with the greatest mentor I've ever had. Before I got the chance to ask what school we were at, she handed me a beautiful journal with a note inside. The note said how happy she was to be working with me again and that we would be back at our home, Southridge Senior High. I became overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn't wait to continue the work City Year had started there. I thought about my students faces when they saw that I was there to support them for another year, and the new freshmen that would become close to our teams heart. In that moment I knew the Southridge slogan was truer than ever. "Once a Spartan, always a Spartan."
This was just a glimpse into how excited and fired up our teams are to begin this new year, filled with expectancy and excitement. Stay tuned for more ripples throughout the year!