2016-01-15

Written by Colleen Morgan, AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Albemarle Foundation Team at Merrydale Elementary School  

President Barack Obama visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the first time as the President of the United States of America on January 14, 2016, and the Albemarle Foundation Team at Merrydale Elementary was chosen to represent CYBR at the event. As a team, we waited in line for five hours Tuesday morning to get a hold of a ticket to see the President speak that Thursday at the historic McKinley High School, where he would hold a town hall meeting, answering questions of the public and ensuring his last year as President would be quite similar to his other seven years in office. As he spoke, I was reminded of a core value in City Year, which was “belief in the power of young people.” 

The President reflected on how much the world has evolved in his lifetime, and how it continues each day to progress forward with new innovations, new technology, and faster paced results. As service warriors, we are given the opportunity to have a year where we dedicate our time to this 1CYBR community. We are gifted a year to see our student’s world and school work evolve, to progress forward, and to find results faster in class. This year, much like a term in office, can seem short. Many times, a task can seem too daunting to tackle in ten months and yet we must push forward with the same gusto as if we had a lifetime. We believe that our young people can and will do great things.

President Obama was asked at his town hall if he had any tips on how people could strive to be more like him and his wife. He gave a hearty chuckle and turned the question on its side dropping some profound knowledge on everyone in the gym. He explained that his success is not a formula: you cannot add in some of this and some of that and have the sum equal the President or First Lady. Instead, he brought up an idea based off of investment. Often times, we associate the word investment with business or money— but what about time? Our lives are based off of moments sewn together by a clock, and these moments equal time. The president explained that he and his wife became who they are because other people invested time in them. They believed they were worth their time and they would become something great. And today, hundreds of people poured into a high school gym, listening to him speak—proving that their investment was worth it. It made me stop and think.

We, as AmeriCorps members, are making investments every day. While they may not be happening on Wall Street or in a bank, they are happening here in our classrooms and hallways, courtyards, playing fields, jungle gyms-- you name it. That time spent with your students and teachers are investments. We believe that if we work together our young people will go on to change the world. We believe in the power of our young people, that one day, they will be the one people pile into a room to watch speak. Invest wisely and make every moment of your service count; you never know what you may get out of it. 

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