Over 600 champions and friends of City Year Boston came out for an illuminating night at City Year Boston’s annual Starry Night Gala at the Westin Waterfront hotel. Our sponsors, champions, and guests, sparked by an inspirational program, raised over $200,000 in support of City Year Boston and brighter futures for Boston students! See photos of this brilliant evening.

Following an electric opener of over 40 corps members, City Year Boston Vice President and Executive Director, Sandra Lopez Burke, took the stage to share her own story of mentorship and the importance of having someone who empowers you to see your brilliance. Jonathan Lavine, Co-Managing Partner at Bain Capital and City Year National Board Member, spoke of the nearly 30-year partnership between City Year and Bain Capital, the presenting sponsor for the evening. Not to be outshone, the three featured AmeriCorps member speakers, Bianca Diaz, Derek Edmonds, and Jesus Martinez delivered an inspiring TED talk style speech of their sparks of service.

Glowing with poise and confidence, Derek Edmonds, serving at the McKay K-8 School, and Bianca Diaz and Jesus Martinez, both serving at The English High School, spoke of moments of illumination in their lives where their path became clear. Whether it was standing for social justice, overcoming barriers as an undocumented immigrant, or a call to serve others, these young leaders inspired the crowd. Now rounding out their year of service, the three reflected on the ways their students shaped their year and continued passion for service. Each remarked on the importance of helping their students to overcome unfair labels and develop their self-image in order to believe in their own futures.

“Our students are bright, intelligent young leaders who only need to be reminded of their potential. Our students have taught us so much about ourselves: how to lead, how to listen, and most importantly, how to show up for others. This year has proven how powerful service can be."

- Bianca Diaz, AmeriCorps member and BPS Alum, The English High School

Bianca and Jesus grew up in the Boston community and had City Year in their schools. Jesus explained how he still remembers his City Years and their mentorship and lessons that opened his eyes to the change he could make within his community. Bianca was able to build relationships quickly with her students as a fellow BPS graduate and person of color. She bonded easily and helped students to defy the labels society places upon them. Guests were equipped with small lights of their own and flipped them on during moments in the program that resonated with them or sparked their passions. Looking across the room, lights glowed at every table as Bianca, Jesus, and Derek spoke.

Inspired by the lights gleaming around him, Eran Lobel, CEO and Executive Producer of Element Productions and City Year Boston Board member, led a stirring ask of the audience. He challenged them to help put more red jackets into the lives of young people who need someone to help illuminate their path. He invited those able to make a gift of $10,000 or more to join Red Jacket Society, a group of philanthropic individuals and families. 

City Year would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our sponsors and guests who spent their evening and means to invest in building a brighter future for our Boston community. If you were unable to attend or would like to support City Year Boston, donate here. Please stay in touch and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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