The minute you mention City Year, almost everyone immediately responds with something that has to do with our uniform. Maybe they noticed the 100 City Year Jacksonville AmeriCorps members in the famous red bomber around downtown and stopped to ask what we do. Maybe you happen to be in a elevator with someone who asks about the logo on your backpack. Maybe they know someone who is serving or has served and ask about the uniform. Whatever the reason, each City Year uniform piece is unique - a visible representation of the pride and perseverance that each AmeriCorps member brings to their year of service.
If I could only pick one uniform piece to represented my year of service it would be my pair of Timberland boots. The boots add flare and style to our uniforms. They are also identifiable to the students because they wear similar style shoes. This connection opens up more avenues of conversations amongst our students. Also, they are the best shoes for power greeting all of our students in the morning. The boots always make me want to go the extra mile during power greeting to ensure that our students' days are starting off with a high five, a friendly face, a round of applause, maybe a couple of dance moves, and most definitely a smile. They are heavy and make our steps much more solid and unified as we walk down the hallways. They show a sense of strength and confidence. A City Year AmeriCorps member in the boots shows students what we hope for them to be in the classroom and beyond: confident, strong, bold, and possessing their own unique sense of style.
As I put on my uniform every day, I think how each piece has its own significance. How day after day, year after year our students can identify with the uniform and the people who proudly choose to wear it. It is more than just a uniform, and they are more than just boots. The uniform lets students know that we are a safe haven and a group of reliable individuals with souls generated by love.
Written by Praises Vega serving on the Sea Best Team at William M. Raines High School.