The definition of community service is voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area, and what better people to help than those who are right in your own community. A couple of times a month, City Year AmeriCorps members venture out into the community to do service projects. This is a wonderful way to become better acquainted with the community and give back at the same time.   With this mindset, the Sea Best Team at William M. Raines High School sought to serve in the community in which their students live. After long hours of searching, the team ended up at James Weldon Johnson YMCA on Cleveland Road, less than a mile away from Raines. AmeriCorps member, Victoria Riley, stated, “I love opportunities to directly impact the community that our students live in, that way they can thrive.”

On December 1st, the team gathered early in the morning to revive the community center.  From beginning to end the team worked tirelessly to clean the building from the parking lot to the gym. Under the leadership of YMCA liaison Mr. Simmons, the team learned a lot about the lives of those in the community, as well as new techniques for polishing windows.

The entire building was sparkling by the end of our service. Which is just in time for all of the new members that are sure to be joining the “Y” after the New Year. We hope to go back soon and work more with Mr. Simmons, who was an excellent host and was full of insight.

As the team prepares for the next service event at Summer Brook Health Care, they will reflect on what made this event so enjoyable for everyone. Maybe it was because it was close to our school home, or the fact we could see our efforts culminate into immediate change or the fact we realize we were making a positive change in the community. Whatever it is, the team hopes to apply it to the next service opportunity and make it greater than the last.

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