WHAT IS CITY HEROES?
The City Heroes Program is a weekend leadership development, social awareness, and community service program for high school-aged youth. Working in diverse teams, City Heroes learn how to lead their peers and other community members to tackle real community issues through service, action groups, and other community-based initiatives. City Heroes discuss issues, debate ideas, and participate in hands-on activities to better understand how social conditions affect different people and to identify ways that high school-aged youth can be a part of the solution.
City Heroes meet 1-3 times a month from January to May for weekend retreats and weekend service days. As a member of the Youth Leadership Corps, City Heroes is designed to be a more intensive version of City Year’s middle school Young Heroes Program.
WHAT DO CITY HEROES DO?
Every City Hero is placed on a diverse team of 8-12 high school-aged youth from all over the community that is led by trained Volunteer Team Leaders, many of whom are City Year AmeriCorps members. On weekend retreats, City Heroes gather together to participate in special trainings on a social issue and to learn the leadership skills that can be used to address the issue. City Heroes participate in panels, discussions, debates, simulation games and other fun, interactive activities to explore their ideas and create solutions to the issue at hand. Past topics have included "Hunger & Homelessness," "Youth Violence," "Racism and Prejudice," "Social Movements," and "Perceptions of Youth in America."
On service days, teams fan across the city to do community service projects that address the issue they learned about during the retreat. Both City Year AmeriCorps members and City Heroes design their service days.
City Heroes is not a drop-in program, so students must attend consistently for the 6 months that the program is in session.
Special leadership, service, and training opportunities are also available to Heroes returning for their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year.
WHEN DOES THE PROGRAM START?
City Year recruits participants from September through early December of each year, with optional “Fall Service Days” on occasional Saturdays for those who want to come out and see what the program is like before applying. Youth who are accepted must bring a parent/guardian to an Orientation in December. The program’s annual official kickoff is held every January with an Opening Day Ceremony celebration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The program then continues 1-3 weekends per month through the end of May.
Contact your local site for details on Fall Service Days and your local calendar of program dates.
WHAT DO CITY HEROES GET?
Besides the satisfaction youth get from doing good deeds for others and meeting new friends, they also gain valuable leadership skills, a free City Heroes t-shirt, and the opportunity to earn a President’s Volunteer Service Award! Virtually all schools will count the time in the program toward any community service hours requirement, and completion of the program is a great asset for college and career applications. And City Heroes is run by City Year, so student also get to spend time with caring, trained adult mentors who are positive role models.
WHAT IF I AM IN HIGH SCHOOL, BUT DON’T HAVE A CITY HEROES PROGRAM IN MY COMMUNITY?
The City Heroes Program is quickly spreading to cities all across the country. However, if you live in a community that does not yet offer City Heroes, contact your local site about their Young Heroes Program. In cities where there is not yet a City Heroes program, the City Year sites sometimes offer special opportunities for high school students be involved in Young Heroes as Junior Team Leaders or in other roles.
WHO CAN JOIN?
Anyone who is old enough to be in the 9th, 10th 11th, or 12th grades can apply. The beauty of this program is that there is no experience necessary. All you need is a strong desire to help others, to establish your leadership skills, and to give back to the community, along with being able to commit to attending the program regularly from December through May. And, you can participate in the program for up to 4 years!
HOW CAN YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW JOIN?
There are three simple steps:
- GET AN APPLICATION: You can click on the link at the top of this page to download an application or call your local City Year site (contact info is on the last page of the application).
- COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION including a PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURE and a RECOMMENDATION (the form is included in the application), and mail it/bring it to your local City Year site.
- City Year will call you for a short INTERVIEW, and once accepted you just need to get ready to attend our Orientation in November and the Opening Day ceremony in January!
STILL HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Contact your City Year location for more information about City Heroes in your community – local contact information can be found on this Web site, and on the last page of the City Heroes application. Please note that the three locations that offer City Heroes programs are City Year Detroit, City Year Greater Philadelphia and City Year Los Angeles.