by Tyler Jones, AmeriCorps VISTA serving at City Year New Hampshire
On Friday, June 15, 2018, City Year New Hampshire graduated its 18th group of AmeriCorps members. This graduation ceremony was the culmination of the hard work and dedication that 63 young people demonstrated this year towards making a difference in the Manchester, NH community. Each AmeriCorps member shared a short statement about what they learned during their year of service and what they will carry with them, before receiving a diploma to signify the completion of their year.
Guest speakers for the day included Mayor of Manchester Joyce Craig and Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard. Mayor Craig attested to the dedication of the City Year New Hampshire corps, as well as the impact they have made on their students and the community.
Chief Willard expressed his thankfulness for City Year's presence in the city of Manchester. As he addressed the crowd of City Year corps member's friends and family, the Chief said,
"To me, City Year has been and will always be, salvation. It's a moment in your love one's life when they chose a path of service for the benefit of children. And in doing so, they have enriched their own lives. An enrichment that will beat within their hearts for the rest of their days."
To the corps members, he expressed his gratitude for their willingness to engage him in conversation and ask some difficult questions, as well as dedicating a year to serve the city of Manchester. He went on to say,
"I marvel at the fact that each of you are coming to Manchester from all over the country with a sense of purpose and an idealistic sense of the world...You took immense pride in your schools and the progress your students made. What you do is impactful. Collectively you have each impacted me, validated me, humored me and impressed me more than you know. Now just imagine the impact you've had on a child. I promise you that each of you have changed the trajectory of a child.”
One AmeriCorps member was recognized for her outstanding accomplishments this year with the Spirit of City Year Award. This annual honor is presented by City Year sponsor, Comcast NBCUniversal, in recognition of an individual who goes above and beyond in their service, and who truly embodies the spirit and values of City Year. Kerri St. Jean, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for the Northeast Division of Comcast NBCUniversal, introduced award recipient Anita Lantz, a first-year AmeriCorps member who served at Hallsville Elementary School.
Anita then shared words of gratitude for her teammates, students and partner teacher, as well as the rest of the City Year New Hampshire corps. She spoke about the opportunities she had throughout her year of service to lead and also to be led, and how her time with City Year has been both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
Graduation may signify an ending, but it also represents a new beginning. City Year New Hampshire’s young idealists will now go on to a multitude of other life steps, from attending college or graduate school to entering the workforce. Some AmeriCorps members are even choosing to serve a second year with City Year. Whatever comes next for this year’s graduates, they leave knowing that they made a lasting impact during this past year, and that it will only grow larger as they move forward.