by Brittany White
Over the last 30 years, City Year alumni, now more than 32,000 strong, have been instrumental in helping to drive the organization forward and continue its legacy of service and civic engagement. From different parts of the country and across the globe, City Year alumni have taken the lessons they learned during their service and have contributed to building strong communities wherever they are. Once a year, we come together in a unified and inclusive Strong Circle to recognize the ways our alumni have made an impact in the last three decades and to thank them for their continued leadership, civic engagement and service to others.
City Year Alumni are Contributing to a Diverse Range of Professions
City Year alumni often take the skills they’ve learned through service beyond the classroom and into a career. Take Maggie Chang for example. She’s a City Year New York alumna and the Co-Founder, Art Director and Producer at Rising Earth: Human Impact Education, an environmental education organization where she focuses on leading social impact through visual storytelling.
“City Year showed me what a board meeting was, how to create a tight agenda and how to nurture relationships with individual donors—everything that it takes to start an organization,” Maggie says. “City Year was such a gift in my life. I wouldn’t be the leader or human I am today if it weren’t for City Year.”
Alumni as Education Innovators
Not surprisingly, many of our talented alumni go on to pursue careers in education after they’ve completed their service. In fact, 47% of alumni who responded to a 2018 survey reported that they currently worked in the education sector: 16% as classroom teachers; 16% in other roles such as administrator, social worker, school counselor or in higher education; and 15% in education-focused nonprofits.
These alumni are all part of a growing community of professionals who are dedicated to student and school success. They understand the joys and challenges of serving in systemically under-resourced schools, and they share an unwavering belief in the talents and potential of our country’s students. Many alumni educators, like award-winning history teacher, Kevin Dua, credit City Year as being the catalyst for his passion and career in education.
"When I pledged to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member, I pledged to be a community leader for life,” Kevin says. “My commitment to helping students succeed didn’t end when I no longer put on the red jacket every day.”
For Alumni, Civic Engagement Doesn't Stop with City Year
We know that our alumni continue to serve the communities in which they live and work as leaders, innovators and civically engaged citizens. After service, City Year alumni tend to be more engaged in community issues than their peers, and actively work to have a deeper, positive impact in their communities.
Alex Peay, a City Year Philadelphia alumn, used his service as an opportunity to learn how to run his own nonprofit organization. Today, he is the founder of Rising Sons, which works to improve the quality of life of young men of color through civic engagement and workforce development.
“When I first started at City Year Philadelphia, they asked me what I wanted to do, and I told them I wanted to start a nonprofit,” recalls Alex. “From that point, City Year really put me in place where I could learn the ins and outs of starting a nonprofit. A lot of what I’ve learned came from my City Year experience.”
Learn More about how City Year supports the professional aspirations and development of its corps and alumni.
For 30 years, our alumni have continued the legacy of serving a cause greater than self, and we are proud of our City Year alumni who work tirelessly to improve their communities.
Today, on the sixth annual Strong Circle Day—a day of alumni giving—we’re asking our alumni to give in yet another way, by making a financial contribution to City Year.
Your support will help place future AmeriCorps members in schools, ensuring that students are receiving the academic and social-emotional support they need to thrive. Whether the contribution is big or small, your participation in Strong Circle Day is appreciated and important in making this day a success.
As City Year looks forward to 30 more years of service, we thank our talented and dedicated alumni for circling with us and helping us to build this beloved community!