by Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year
At City Year, we like to say, “Multiply the Power of Everything.” We say this because we know that partnerships – with teachers and principals, the federal AmeriCorps program, other nonprofits and corporate and philanthropic partners – fuel our service in schools, enabling us to have a far greater impact on the students and communities we serve every day.
City Year and our partners understand that in order for students to thrive and reach their full potential in school and beyond, they need a network of supportive, caring adults. Our remarkable AmeriCorps members can serve as a critical component of this support system. As near-peer mentors, tutors and role models – old enough to provide guidance, young enough to relate to students’ perspectives – City Year’s more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members are uniquely positioned to develop positive, developmental relationships with students and support student success both in and out of the classroom. We are able to do this work in more than 325 schools nationwide because of committed partners such as Comcast NBCUniversal, who sponsors 12 City Year teams of AmeriCorps members across the country each year, making a positive impact on the lives of more than 9,000 students each year.
One example of the wide-reaching support offered by Comcast NBCUniversal includes NBC News’ Education Nation, which held a live town hall October 11 at the JFK Library called Build the Future. The event was a great example of how community partnerships can build and strengthen networks focused on student and school success. Panels featured a number of City Year’s partner organizations, including Boston Public Schools Supt. Dr. Tommy Chang; David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and Headmaster of the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Dr. Lindsa McIntyre. City Year Boston AmeriCorps members attended the event, cheering on the impact that education, nonprofit and corporate leaders are having on students and schools that they care so deeply about and that need our support the most. Turning around a struggling school, creating a positive culture for learning, and providing students with holistic support “is a process that can’t be done by one person alone in a school,” McIntyre said. “It can’t be done in isolation, in a classroom, or in a school building, but must be done within the constructs of the entire community.”
The support network necessary for successful students and schools can be built in many ways, including by infusing high-need schools with diverse teams of young idealists such as City Year AmeriCorps members. A 2015 study by Center for Promise, Don’t Quit on Me, which included a survey of 3,000 young adults, found that students are much more likely to graduate from high school if they have access to mentors and a network of supportive relationships with caring adults and peers.
City Year Boston AmeriCorps members have served at the Burke since 2010, McIntyre’s first year leading the high school, and Comcast NBCUniversal has provided direct support to the school since then by sponsoring its City Year team. Comcast shares a commitment with City Year’s other national corporate partners to building partnerships that deepen impact and provide students with the support and resources they need to succeed. In addition to sponsoring City Year teams across the U.S.—Comcast NBCUniversal is sponsoring its 100th City Year team this year—Comcast NBCUniversal has demonstrated its commitment to students and schools through its support of other educational programs that ensure students have access to the resources they need to succeed.
Education Nation’s Build the Future event is a great reminder that by gathering educators, community members, nonprofit and private sector leaders to share innovative ideas and promising practices, we can ensure that all American children have access to a high quality education, a network of positive relationships that help them to thrive, and research-based supports that enable students to achieve at high levels, reach ambitious goals and become successful adults – outcomes that benefit all of us. By working together, public schools like the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, nonprofit partners like City Year and corporate partners like Comcast NBCUniversal are helping to #BuildTheFuture.
Watch the Education Nation event and see how collaborations with educators and our community can collectively build a better future for everyone. To learn more about how City Year is taking part in this nationwide effort to #BuildTheFuture, visit our website.