Deciding to dedicate a year of your life to service is a huge decision. We want to help you make the choice that’s best for you. That’s why we’re inviting you to join our True Life conversation on Thursday, March 24. Meet four of our currently serving AmeriCorps members, learn about their experience and ask them your questions about what it’s really like to serve with City Year!

Amador, Sydney, John and Stephanie can’t wait to tell you about their journey!


Name: Amador Avila

Site: City Year Sacramento

University: University of the Pacific

Hometown: Stockton, CA


What were you most nervous about before you started your service year?

I was really nervous about being able to memorize all of my students’ names and wondered how they would react to a different team of City Year AmeriCorps members. It surprised me how fast the students all remembered my name; it seems that one day they calling out “Hi, new City Year” and the next they’re saying “Good morning, Mr. Amador!” There were still a couple of students who were reluctant to accept that last year’s corps members graduated, but all it took was my getting to know them and spending time together to make a new bond. Now, not only do I know all of my students’ names, I also know and recognize their distinct walks, handwriting, backpacks, and the occasional lost jacket.

Do you have any advice for someone who's just agreed to serve with us next year?

First of all, congratulations! This year will be one of many challenges, laughs and growth. Do not expect to be liked by every single student--especially at first. But make sure you never forget that their education and future is important.

You may be surprised by how much they can grow in one year. One of my most challenging students at the beginning of the year now goes out of his way every morning to tell me about his progress and thanks me for pushing him to get better grades. The days may seem long, but the time you can spend giving individualized attention to a student who needs it will make it worth it.

Meet Amador during our #askcy virtual roundtable on Thursday!



Name: Sydney Gahnz

Site: City Year Little Rock

University: University of Wisconsin

Hometown: DeForest, Wisconsin



What were you most nervous about before you started your service year?

I was most nervous about moving away from home. I went to college only 20 minutes away from my hometown and so moving to Arkansas was a huge step for me.

What advice do you have for anyone who’s serving with City Year next year?

The main piece of advice that I have for is to do your best to suspend judgement. People always do things for a reason even if that reason is not clear to us. Teachers, school staff, City Year, and students all have their reasons for doing things and you are going to be coming into their schools so do your best to suspend judgement and assume that people are doing things for a reason.


Ask Sydney how she managed her move from Wisconsin to Arkansas on Thursday!




Name: John Pang

Site: City Year New York

University: Syracuse University

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA



Why did you decide to join City Year?

Service is a huge aspect of my life and grew up in a very service based household. My mom and dad both exhibit service greater than self and that is something that I like to emulate. I found City Year in my last semester of college and fell in love with the mission and the service aspect of this organization/.

Advice for future City Year AmeriCorps members?

This is very hard work, but it is so rewarding to see your students grow and do well in school. My advice to them would be to keep at it and when it gets hard, think about one thing that went well that day or one moment that made you happy that day.


Ask John what it’s like to serve and live in New York City!



Name: Stephanie Sang

Site: City Year Orlando

University: Rollins College

Hometown: Longwood, FL


Why did you join City Year?

When I came to the U.S. at age 6, I needed many additional resources to help me succeed and eventually excel in school. I was a beneficiary of the schools I now currently serve in. I want to be that additional resource for my students.

What were you most nervous about before you started your service year?

I was nervous to take this service year because I honestly wondered whether or not I was just "wasting" a year of my life and falling behind my peers who were on their way to new careers and graduate school.

How has this year helped prepare her for her future? Ask Stephanie at #askcy.


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