Since last summer, more than 2,500 corps members have been serving at one of City Year’s 25 sites across the US. As the 2013-2014 school year comes to an end, many of those corps members will become City Year alumni, and join 18,000 other City Year alumni in their journey after service.

As graduation approaches for current City Year corps members, we sat down with the City Year alumni team to talk about the best ways to stay connected to City Year, and to learn about everything that alumni services has to offer.

Get to know the City Year Alumni & Career Services team and all they are doing to create a great City Year experience, even after service is complete.

Meet the Team!

Amanda Smidt and Sean McDevitt

Amanda Smidt:  I am the National Manager of Alumni & Career Services. I‘m also an alumna of City Year Rhode Island ’09, ’10 and former CYRI Alumni Board Chair and National Alumni Advisory Board member, so this role couldn’t be a better fit. I manage partnerships with give a year and Leadership After City Year (LACY) partners, maintain alumni.cityyear.org, coordinate alumni social media initiatives and work to find more opportunities for employer partnerships and stronger pathways to teaching. Essentially, if it says “Alumni” or “LACY” on it, it likely came across my desk at Headquarters in Boston.

Sean McDevitt: I am the Senior Director of Alumni & Career Services. I served one year as a corps member back in the day (that’s 2001) and spent the last 12 years working to build and connect our alumni network. Being a City Year alum is my proudest accomplishment, and my passion is facilitating meaningful, and hopefully life-long, relationships between City Year and fellow alumni. Working with local staff and our National Alumni Board, my role focuses on creating the environment  to keep 18,000 alumni connected as volunteers, donors and champions to deepen City Year’s impact and enhance the corps experience. 

What benefits do you provide to City Year alumni through Alumni & Career Services?

AS: If you’re looking to head back to school, look no further than the give a year Partnerships page on alumni.cityyear.org. Here you’ll find more than 80 programs offering 25 to 100 percent tuition scholarships exclusively to City Year alumni. You can also find a list of more than 100 universities which will match your Segal Education Award. If you’re searching for a job, check out our list of LACY partners or view current postings on our Job Board

SM:  One of the greatest benefits is networking with fellow alumni. Alumni are leaders in every sector and profession you can imagine. In our network, we have principals and teachers, pediatricians, immigration lawyers, nonprofit and corporate executives, public sector managers and artists. Hey, we even have one of the foremost experts on mountain lions! I highly recommend joining the City Year Alumni Association group on LinkedIn and begin connecting with more than 2,500 alumni. We also have a LACY Career Advisors network through the alumni website with more than 500 alumni who have volunteered to be a career resource for corps members and alums.

City Year Alumni 

What is it like to be a City Year alum, what can alumni expect, what are the perks?

AS: One of the best perks is the incredible community you’re now connected to. You have friendly faces in every state, across many career sectors, all with a common past: you served. Every year, City Year alumni attend each other’s grad school commencements, start businesses as a team, and even marry each other with alums by their side. This is such a unique experience; it connects you to national service and civic engagement alongside some of the most important people you’ll have in your life. 

SM:  Alumni can expect to leave City Year with some of the greatest friendships in their life (I had more than a dozen at my wedding) and continue to make new friends by staying connected to the network. Another perk is having a leg up in the hiring process for many jobs you’ll apply to, whether during your corps year or ten years later. As City Year’s brand--a respected AmeriCorps program and education-focused nonprofit--continues to bloom the value of a City Year ‘diploma’ will grow exponentially as we become known as a place that trains leaders to address and solve problems. There’s also alumni swag like hoodies and t-shirts!

How can you stay connected to City Year and other City Year alumni?

SM:  After following our national social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn), make sure to login and update your contact information on alumni.cityyear.org. To receive local opportunities in your community, be sure you sign up for your local alumni chapter on the Alumni Website. There are many ways to stay connected through big City Year site events like Opening Day, MLK Service Days, fundraising galas and corps and alumni career initiatives like 18 Minute Networking. If you want to get event more plugged in, contact your local Alumni Board Chair to hear what’s being planned in the coming months.

18 Minute Networking Event 

How can you help spread the word about City Year as alumni?

AS:  The best way to spread the word about the alumni community is to join the conversations on social media, invite your alumni friends to join, and choose a way to get involved together. No matter who you are or where or when you served, our local alumni boards want to hear from you! It’s also incredibly important that our alumni share their stories of service wherever they go; our country needs to understand the perils and triumphs of the American education system, and you have a compelling experience to build upon. Never stop talking about your mentee; never lose touch with your teammates. There will be moments throughout your life where we’ll need you to dust off your red jacket and remember the City Year values, whether it’s next month or in five years.

City Year Alumni 

What is the best thing about being City Year alumni?

SM:  The best part about is knowing you acted on your idealism and that you were part of a team that made a difference in the lives of children and families. City Year is a “family business” – meaning that our mission is to strengthen communities and families - and through serving as a City Year corps member you become part of a life-long family of corps members, alumni and staff. Whether you served in the past, are currently serving and about to graduate, or will begin service this summer, City Year is a physical place you can always visit and an emotional place to revisit in your heart. City Year is a shared experience to you can always reflect on, and its’ a community that is here to provide you inspiration and support your efforts to continue to help change the world.

(Photos by Elliot Haney)

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