There’s so much to love about Chicago, famously known as The Windy City—hundreds of public parks, year-round activities and eclectic neighborhoods. City Year AmeriCorps members have had the privilege of serving in this historic and thriving city for the last 25 years.
However, we believe that none of these reasons compares to serving with City Year Chicago—helping students to reach their full potential, enhancing school culture and climate, and growing in your own skills. Though service can be challenging, it’s an inspiring and worthwhile experience that cultivates both personal and professional growth. You’ll have the chance to work with a talented and dedicated team to support students and teachers in schools all day, every day.
Here are some insights from young adults like you who have answered the call to service and who can speak to the transformative power of serving with City Year Chicago.
Be a Part of Changing Your Community’s Narrative
“As a proud Boricua who hails from Humboldt Park, I love the beauty of my culture and know the contributions my people have made not just to the community, but our city, country, and world,” says Rebeca Nives Huffman, executive director of City Year Chicago.
“It also gives me great pride to know that City Year Chicago continues the tradition of serving within communities we love and are actively engaged in changing their narratives. You cannot truly celebrate Chicago’s Latinx community without acknowledging the beauty, grit, power and brilliance of the neighborhoods that cultivated them and that they, in turn, helped to mold. After all, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and we ARE our neighborhoods.”
Read on for more on Rebeca’s reflections on Hispanic Heritage Month
Find New Meaning in Service
“Prior to joining City Year, I saw Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service as nothing more than a day off from work or school, retweeting and double-tapping different posts with MLK quotes on social media—then, along came City Year,” says Kia Smith, a City Year Chicago alumna who served at Chalmers School of Excellence.
“Working in harmony, making new friends and celebrating our differences on this day allowed us to come together and make Gale Community Academy even more beautiful than it already was. Our volunteers’ efforts were contagious and I really fed off of their energy throughout the day. People from all walks of life—all ages, sizes, and colors – came and volunteered. Now, MLK Day is a day for me to serve, to love, to reflect and to press forward. It is also a day to ponder on ‘life's most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are we doing for others?’’’
Read more about Kia’s experience serving on MLK Day as a City Year Chicago AmeriCorps member.
Read more about Kia’s experience serving on MLK Day as a City Year AmeriCorps member
Your Students Will Learn and Grow and So Will You
“This work is challenging; it is meant to stretch us and push us. We talk so often about the growth of our students, but what we forget to notice in the process is the growth we also experience,” says Sarah Divney, a City Year Chicago alumna.
“For many of us, this may be one of our first professional work experiences. We are thrown into a setting where we serve sunup to sundown with the same eight or more team members. We learn to communicate with our teammates and utilize their strengths. We learn to persevere and cope with the reality of the environments in which we serve and occasionally struggle through the injustice we witness—it truly is an incredible process.”
Learn more about why Sarah answered the call to serve.
Read on to learn more about why Sarah answered the call to service
Want to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of Chicago’s students?