by Danielle Innocent, AmeriCorps member serving on the Wellington Management team with McKay K-8 School

The follow retrospective was written not long after Red Jacket Dedication on September 18, 2015. After completing Basic Training Academy (BTA), a intensive, six-week long training period, AmeriCorps members earned their iconic red jackets and dedicated them at a special ceremony before their official opening day as a corps in service.

Color of the day: red.

Red jackets
folded neatly on chairs, waiting for our arrival.

Red eyes
gleaming with tears of sorrow, of joy, of remembrance, of hope.

Red hearts
beating in time, 265 pumping the same rhythm:


Emotion of the day: passion.

Never have I been in a room with people so
committed to the cause they serve.
willing to make themselves powerfully vulnerable.
quickly bonded to each other, on such a deep level.
similar to me, in such unique ways.

Word of the day: dedication.

I dedicate my jacket to my parents
who have given me the support and the opportunities to stand before you today.

I dedicate my jacket to my teachers
who have inspired me to provide the same quality of education I was privileged enough to have.

I dedicate my jacket to my students
as a promise to do my absolute best, day in and day out, to be the corps member that they deserve.

I dedicate my jacket to myself
as a celebration of all I have accomplished and as a beacon of hope for all accomplishments yet to come.

Mission of the day: connectedness.

Connect to the past
by reflecting on the people and ideals that brought us to this cause.

Connect to the future
by binding our service to people and ideals we hold near and dear.

Connect to each other
by discovering who and what matters most to us.

Takeaway of the day: City Year is where I belong.

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