My name is Grace Andrews, and I am a proud City Year Baton Rouge alumna, serving at Broadmoor Middle School from 2011-2012.
I still work at City Year today, and when people ask me to give one reason I've chosen to stay and make a career here, I always answer, "Team." Most people answering that question focus on the tremendous impact corps members have on students, or the aspect of serving a cause greater than themselves, or the inspiration they find in a community so unique as City Year. But for me, as someone who absolutely dreads doing things by myself, I have always liked City Year because you are never doing your work alone. I find that true in my development work today, but I discovered it three years ago when I served with 8 other people- who were my team and became my best friends- at Broadmoor Middle School.
I would never have been able to be a corps member by myself. I am 100% certain I am not a strong enough person for that. So for today's "Flashback" edition of Photo Friday, I wanted to share some pictures of the reason I am still at City Year today: my team.
PS-- Check out the main picture above. We were obviously extremely cool.
This picture was taken on October 7, 2011, on City Year Baton Rouge's Opening Day. We were such a handsome bunch, they put a picture of us in the newspaper! Sara, 5th from the left, was chosen to share her "Why I Serve" statement during the ceremony, and I remember her delivering it like it was yesterday. "I serve because of Paul..."
This is one of my favorite memories from my corps year. Usually, afterschool time was reserved for lesson-planning, coordinating initiatives, or completing various tasks for the school. But this day, our football team played another City Year school, and we all got to take a break from our normal acitivites to cheer them on with our fellow corps members. We weren't hiding our Buccaneer pride, especially Kasey (the pirate). You'll notice AJ (tall bearded corps member) is not in this picture. We could never seem to find him afterschool, always wondering "Where's AJ?"
Another fantastic memory. This was our ugly-sweater holiday party right before the corps went home for a two week winter break. By this time, we were unquestionably a family, and probably could have spent the Holidays together in Baton Rouge and not have missed home. Look at the joy on our faces!! (Yes, that is actually joy coming from Ms. Jo's face in front, believe it or not). I remember making this my facebook profile picture after Jo sent it out to us all, and I stared at it and cried for awhile.
This photo was taken at school on just a regular day as a City Year corps member. And those days, while they tend to run together, were truly the best. They're what brought us close together, and they're the common thread that keeps us close. Today, Sara brought me pizza muffins at work. Lizzy babysits my dog whenever I go out of town. Kasey is having a son two weeks before my baby is due this winter. I text Molly every single day, and I think I am in the lead to be her maid of honor when she gets married. I see Kylie everytime I'm in Boston, I am getting dinner with Laine tonight, Jo is as excited about my pregnancy as I am, and AJ, though far away, still connects with me as often as possible through social media. If we got together today, no time would have passed since we were last all together on May 17th, 2012- our graduation day. I hope when our 2014-2015 corps graduates this May, they'll have a new family, too.