Today we bring you a blog "from the vault" written by Maya Rosenbloom who served as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Jacksonville last year and shared with us her favorite part of the City Year uniform. 

Maya Rosenbloom

The City Year uniform is an integral part of being a City Year AmeriCorps Member. It is a symbol of our full-time commitment to service and a cause greater than ourselves.  When I put on my uniform, I become a recognizable symbol of inspiration, idealism, and reliability to my students, school, and community.  When I zip up my red jacket, I am no longer Maya Rosenbloom. I am Ms. R., the "City Year" in Mrs. Thompson’s classroom. 

There are many important pieces of our uniform. From our red jacket (which stands as a symbol of one City Year) to the smile on our face that prepares us to tackle any problem throughout the day. Each uniform piece plays a crucial role in helping me get ready for the day.  However, I would have to say that my favorite uniform pieces are my black shoes.  There are two main reasons why, in my opinion, my black converse shoes - which are becoming a little stinky and worn - are the most important part of the City Year uniform.

The first reason is based on the City Year Founding Story, Moccasins

       "Oh Great Spirit, grant that I may never criticize my brother or my sister until I have walked the trail of life in their moccasins." - Adapted from a Cherokee Prayer

The Moccasin founding story highlights the importance of empathy and perspective taking when helping others.  Every day I strive to understand my students and see the world through their eyes.  I work to moccasins them in order to know how to better teach, lead, and counsel them.  My black shoes serve as a constant reminder to always look at situations from my students’ point of view before criticizing or jumping to conclusions.

The second reason is more practical: for the majority of the day I am standing up, running around the school preparing for the day, or walking with students to calm them down after an incident. Without good shoes, I would not be able to do the work that I do. My feet would ache and I would get crabby. Good shoes help me stay energized and ready for 10 hours of work. 

Black Shoes are a small part of our uniform.  It is not a uniform piece that we have to “earn” to wear (in fact, we have to provide them ourselves), however, my shoes are a constant reminder of what I do and how to be the best City Year I can be.

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