Inside the Red Jacket: City Year and Aramark's Shared Values  

President Obama has worn it, so has President Clinton, superstars Bono and Emma Stone, and many more. But most importantly, nearly 18,000 City Year AmeriCorps members have worn the signature red bomber jacket since City Year’s very early years.


The red jacket is not only what the public associates with City Year as they see corps members in their communities head to school or to service days, but it’s what students associate with someone who they can trust and who believes in them. For corps members, the jacket symbolizes a shared sense of purpose to a cause greater than self, and unity within the City Year network.

The red jackets and most of City Year’s uniform parts are provided by City Year’s official uniform partner and National Leadership Sponsor, Aramark. Aramark is a global provider of services in food, facilities management, and uniforms, and is also committed to helping City Year evolve and strengthen civic engagement nationally. As an organization focused on encouraging civic service and providing volunteer opportunities to enrich and nourish the lives of children and families around the world, Aramark is especially proud of what City Year’s red jacket has come to symbolize. 

Each year when corps members receive their jacket, they have an opportunity to dedicate it to someone in their life who gives them hope or has inspired them to serve. This takes place during a special Red Jacket Dedication Ceremony before corps members are sworn in. While the ceremonies are usually private, a few members of City Year Philadelphia’s Aramark Civic Engagement Team shared with us who they’ve chosen to dedicate their red jackets to this year, and why. 

Ahn-yea W. Graham
22 years old
Chester, Pennsylvania
I dedicate my Red Jacket to Haneef because I know I am the main, if not only, father-figure in his life. I see it as an obligation to mentor him and learn how to be a better “Me” so he can have a great role model to look up to.
Joy Paul
23 years old
Hollywood, FL
I dedicated my Red Jacket to my older brother Emile Paul who had a difficult time in college but is finishing his last year strong. His persistence drives me to push myself and those around me!
Inti Chomsky
22 years old
Mexico City, Mexico
I dedicate my Red Jacket to my friend Alex Willis because he did not have the chance to accomplish everything he was capable of, and I wish to live up to his expectations of me.
Kirsten O’Brien
24 years old
Voorhees, NJ
I dedicate my Red Jacket to my mother because she has always inspired me to want to bring about the best in others and myself.
City Year Philadelphia’s Aramark Civic Engagement Team and 315 Aramark employees pack soup jars for local community center.

About the City Year Philadelphia Aramark Civic Engagement Team

This has already been a busy year for Philadelphia’s Aramark Civic Engagement Team. On September 11, 2014, the team led 315 members of Aramark’s Accelerate to Leadership program in major project to pack 1,900 jars of rainbow soup for a community center in Nicetown Community Center in north Philadelphia. During City Year Philadelphia’s Opening Day the team engaged volunteers in a project to revitalize the library and paint murals at South Philadelphia High School. And later this fall, the team will engage about 200 volunteers to beautify the Edwin M. Stanton School in south Philly, and run a coat drive for students at the school an in the local community.


Note (October 15, 2018): The City Year uniform has since changed and City Year AmeriCorps members now wear black pants instead of khakis, as pictured above. However, the City Year jacket still remains a staple of the City Year uniform. 

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