2015-10-16

By Christian Collins, City Year Providence AmeriCorps member

Six months ago, I sent in my acceptance letter to serve as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Providence. Four months ago, I bought my plane ticket to move across the country to an entirely new city and state.

I spent three months becoming familiar with my new community, before heading into a month of long training days that would preparing me for my year of service. Since meeting my partner teachers and the students, I worked on building relationships with them.

These experiences were actively stirring through my mind as I sat on the steps of the State Capitol (for our Opening Day celebration). Hundreds of individuals answer the call to service each year in Rhode Island, and today was the day we officially answered that call by taking our AmeriCorps pledge.

Reciting the AmeriCorps pledge was an important moment for me.  I became part of an enormous group of 75,000 AmeriCorps members nationwide, all working to “get things done for America.” To me, the pledge symbolized, and also validated, all the steps in my life that led me to commit a year e to City Year.

Looking around me on our Opening Day, the diversity of individual cultures, ideas,and people was evident, and it is this diversity that makes AmeriCorps and its pledge so significant.  Every individual present that day had his or her unique journey that had led him to different AmeriCorps programs: from City Year and Teach for America, to Rhode Island Vet Corps and AmeriCorps*VISTA. Though each program is different, it is the AmeriCorps pledge that unites the programs and the people serving within them. To me, this collaboration of like-minded individuals is what makes AmeriCorps truly special, and provides meaning to the pledge. The pledge states that we will work, “to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier,” and I feel this line encompasses all the different missions of each AmeriCorps program.  

My service in City Year Providence will be for one year, but my colleagues and I pledged much more than that on Opening Day.  The last lines of the pledge perfectly summarize our call to service: “I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”

Follow the conversation, nationwide, online with #AmeriDay.

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