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City Year Founding Story: Lever

Art by Liza Rein

Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world.

– Archimedes

Archimedes was an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Hailed as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, he is known for being far ahead of his time in his theories and inventions especially relating to geometry and physics. This quote derives from those studies; the theory that given a place to stand and a lever long enough you can move anything, even the entire world.

While based in mathematics and physics, it is the philosophy behind these words that has kept them so relevant throughout history. The idea that the right place and the right tool used together can indeed change the world. President John F. Kennedy was particularly fond of this quote and referenced it often in his quest for world peace: “These proposals offer no quick and easy solution to the problems of peace. But they are essential tools. 'Give me a fulcrum,'' Archimedes is reported to have said, 'and a place to stand—and I will move the world.' The tools I have suggested can be our fulcrum—it is here we take our stand—let us move the world down the road to peace.”

We hope that City Year can be one of those places to stand and that our lever is our service, the service we provide to students in schools across the country so that all young people can have a chance to succeed and help move the world forward to a better future.

About the Artist: Liza Rein is a graphic designer living in Boston. As a graduate from a fine arts school, Liza has an avid interest in incorporating hand-made and hand-drawn elements into all of her work. Liza worked as a junior designer for the City Year creative team.