This year’s Ripples of Hope Awards Dinner was located at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, and saw nearly 400 guests and supporters join us for the evening. Follow this link to see the pictures from the night!
As guests arrived, they were able to speak with 55 City Year AmeriCorps members who had signed up to attend this event! Discussions ranged from AmeriCorps members sharing their experience working in schools to guests, explaining about their service and how it connects to improving the education of Chicago students. It was also a great time for AmeriCorps members to reconnect with their team sponsor representatives, network, and stay updated on upcoming events.
Team Leader TJ speaking with Comcast Senior VP John Crowley.
AmeriCorps members Power Greet guests into the dining area to begin the program .
As the program started, we heard from Team Leader Dana Stigler, who shared her experience working with her student last year, and the incredible progress he’s made with her support. She stated, "Those exhausting conversations with him, the days of practicing his communication skills – he finally got it; he had started believing in himself." It was a touching story of the unwavering support that AmeriCorps members provide to their students each year.
Dana Stigler speaking at the Ripples of Hope Awards Dinner
Afterwards, we heard from our new Executive Director, Rebeca Nieves Huffman, on her experience as an AmeriCorps member in Chicago, and her path towards returning to City Year. It was especially inspiring to hear how she built upon the skills that she developed during her City Year, and used them as the foundation for her work advocating for educational rights among minority groups.
New City Year Chicago Executive Director Rebeca Nieves Huffman touching on her experience wearing the Red Jacket
After dinner was served, we heard from City Year AmeriCorps members Molly Stuber and Marcus Wright on what they believe the Red Jacket symbolizes, which led us to the recognition of the night’s honorees; James Reynolds, CEO of Loop Capital, and Thomas Ricketts, Chairman of the Chicago Cubs.
Team Leader Marcus Wright (Get IN Chicago - John Hope College Prep) and Senior Corps Member Molly Stuber (Civic Engagement) share what the Red Jacket means to them
Mr. Reynolds shared some great insight on the importance of providing students in low-income areas as many positively engaging opportunities as possible. He shared his experience being raised in Chicago and working with youth, later stating that the presence of AmeriCorps members in schools and the support they provide “are the options that they [students] need to see.”
Mr. Ricketts echoed that sentiment, and shared his experience of visiting the Herzl School of Excellence, where he met with the City Year team serving there and learned more about their service. He explained that, while the Herzl team eagerly shared stories of their student’s success, “there was just as much talk about how much they were getting out of the experience, and how much it was turning them into better people.”
We’d like to appreciate Bain Capital for serving as our National Gala Sponsor across the country, dinner chairs Ed Wehmer (Wintrust) and William Daley (Argentiere Capital), honorees James Reynolds and Thomas Ricketts, and everyone who came out to join and support the work of our AmeriCorps members!