Written by Mallory Orr, AmeriCorps member serving on the Entergy Louisiana Team at Broadmoor Middle School. 

Each day, City Year teams start their morning with “Morning Circle” where we greet each other, share joys, and make sure we have everything we need for the day through a process called the “Readiness Check”. During the check, we make sure we all have our uniform, a good attitude, a positive mindset, and a soul generated by love.

The last part of our readiness check is drawn from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “The Drum Major Instinct,” in which Dr. King says:

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

City Year inspiration is drawn from the ideas of many great people and cultures, and Dr. King’s quote has become a major source reflection as I serve with City Year. I choose to remind myself each day that if all my actions are generated by love for the people and communities I serve—that I will truly be able to serve the best that I can.

City Year Americorps members are faced with a share of challenges, so I put together some thoughts on driving our service with love—even on the difficult days.

Loving Our Students: Our students are the entire reason we came to serve, and if nothing else, we can show them unconditional love each day. When they talk back, remind them that their words won’t stop you from caring about them. When they don’t want to work, remind them that you want them to succeed—and you won’t stop pushing them upwards. When they’re having a bad day, remind them that they can always come to you, and that you love them no matter what.

Loving Our Teachers: Our teachers are our partners during this year, without them we would not be able to do our jobs. When you disagree, remember you both have the best interest of the students in mind. When you become frustrated, remind yourself to be thankful to have them—even on a hard day.

Loving Our Teams: Our teams are our backbones this year, and we are here to support each other, to listen to each other, and to love each other. On hard days, offer them a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. When a teammate makes a mistake, help them fix it and remind them that tomorrow is a new day to do better.

Loving Ourselves: If we don’t treat ourselves with love and respect, we will never be able to best serve our students, teams, and schools. City Year is not easy, so we must always remember to take care of ourselves. If we love ourselves as best we can, it will only follow that we will show love to others too.

By choosing to serve with a soul generated by love, we can make the best of any day at City Year. In the wake of any challenge, showing love for others is often the best thing we can do.

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