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AT&T Impact Day (Hayward, CA) 2019

AT&T #attimpact Day Chronicle (Hayward, CA) 2019

This trip had a lot of different components outside the scope of a “typical” service event trip. Prior to booking our flights, Hugh Harlow our Senior Partnerships Manager, the man with the master plan, gave us the full layout of the trip’s activities, broken down by the different elements that were happening. Arriving early on the travel day, my teammates (Rachel and Jenna) and I were going to break down and relocate a Care Force Storage Unit from San Jose to Sacramento. Then we were tasked with conducting prep and leading AT&T volunteers on event day in Hayward, CA with excellence. Then the day after our event in Hayward, we would be supporting Anthony Rodriguez and City Year San José/Silicon Valley with their Sharks/SAP Service Day event at Mount Pleasant High School.

 Hugh requested that we fly out early on Monday to help Anthony and himself clean out the Care Force San Jose storage unit. Jenna, Rachel, and I had no problem helping with this. Luckily, I was allowed to lengthen my time in California and caught a red eye the Friday before the prep week so I was already in the Bay Area come Monday morning. After all, why spend the weekend in Boston when you can spend it in San Francisco? I normally plan in advance, so flying to San Francisco not knowing where I would be staying was daunting, but as luck would have it my housemate and teammate Clark Shimeall, aka Stretch, had family friends that resided in San Francisco. They graciously hosted me for the weekend and even gave me a ride to the train station Monday morning.

When I was picked up at the train station by Hugh, he informed me that my teammates’ flight was delayed. I thought to myself, “That certainly throws a wrench in the plans but no biggie.” I later found out that it was indeed a biggie because Hugh and Anthony had other items to move so I found myself breaking down all the shelving in the entire storage unit. Obviously, that was not ideal but much like Depeche Mode, I “enjoyed the silence.” When Hugh and Anthony returned, we began to pack the vans when Jenna and Rachel landed and subsequently headed to the hotel. Hugh and I then dropped off Anthony and were off to the hotel to pick up our teammates before making the trek to Sacramento. On this journey I would learn firsthand the extremes annoyances of California traffic.

Senior AmeriCorps Member Mark Johnson stands proudly in the Storage Unit he has just emptied.
Senior AmeriCorps Member Mark Johnson stands proudly in the Storage Unit he has just emptied.

Tuesday morning, we arrived at Bret Harte Middle School, the poet not the wrestler, to begin prep. The overall prep work was not that challenging especially with the assistance of our Care Force Reserves Jake Lacey, TCF#11 alumnus and now Corporate Partnership and Foundations Manager for City Year Boston, and Luis Fortes, Individual Giving Manager for City Year Boston as well as our own James Simmons (Senior Operations Manager). We conducted prep work while school was still in session, working around the students and their classes, including gym class where we heard the Electric Slide on repeat all day. I personally enjoy prepping while school is in session because students interact with you and show gratitude.

Hugh Harlow ensures that the murals being sketched are up to his level of standards.
Hugh Harlow ensures that the murals being sketched are up to his level of standards.

The day of the event was soon upon us, but City Year is always ready. My volunteers were an amazing group, eager to work and truly a joy to be around. I was slightly nervous leading a mural painting project because there were quite a few moving parts to it between complex murals and pausing work for students during passing periods. Luckily, the universe sent me a helping hand in the form of a volunteer named Tracy, who took point on two of the more complex murals we painted. The day was filled with student and staff appreciation and soon service was coming to an end; Tracy was determined to complete his mural and he stayed after lunch when the rest of the volunteers departed.

AT&T volunteers perform Foot Fires, generally known to be the finest PT move ever created by City Year.
AT&T volunteers perform Foot Fires, generally known to be the finest PT move ever created by City Year.

The next day, we supported City Year San José/Silicon Valley with their Sharks/SAP Service Day. Supporting events is always enjoyable because we get to take on a different role and meet new City Year members in the process. My role was to support Victor, the Team Leader at Mount Pleasant, in leading volunteers through the construction of backless benches. He was honestly on top of it, so I wasn’t as needed as I had anticipated and the event went smoothly.

After a long week of activities, we were off to Redmond, Washington for another event with AT&T. While waiting to board the aircraft, we ran into a guy named Will who works for Amazon; he is also a City Year San José/Silicon Valley alumnus. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Will although he and the rest of my team refused to bring it in for a spirit break before boarding the plane. He redeemed himself though when he promised to buy us a meal the next time we are in San Jose. That my friends, is how you #MakeBetterHappen.

Originally published 11/19/2019

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