As part of #cyjaxgivesthanks, today's blog features AmeriCorps Member Matthew Klauder on The Rice Family Foundation Team at Susie Tolbert Elementary School, who reflects on his gratitude for the support system in this life that helps him serve. 


I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving, it’s a day where you eat as much as you want and surround yourself with family and loved ones. Something that I think gets overlooked is sharing what you are thankful for and why. This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving because it really makes you think about what is most important in your life.

These first few months of serving with City Year have shown me how difficult it is to do what we do; it is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. This challenging year of service makes me extremely thankful for my incredible support system: my family, my friends and my team. 


My Family

My family has been apart of my support system for as long as I can remember. My family includes my parents, sister, and brother (though he just happens to not be pictured in the above photo). I have always used how my family's opinions and reactions as a barometer for my actions. Granted there have been times I have made the wrong decision, but that was usually when I ignored that barometer. They have always been there for me to talk through decisions or events that have happened to me. Even if it is just to vent about my day, I always leave these talks with my family feeling re-energized.

Matthew's Family


My Friends

What would life be without friends? While I have made many new good friends among my fellow AmeriCorps Members at City Year, I wanted to take a moment to focus on and appreciate the friends I have made before I joined City Year. These friends are a breath of fresh air. When service gets difficult and feels all encompassing, they are a reminder that there is a life outside of City Year. Plus they usually have a good story to share that can make me laugh or cheer me up.

Matthew's friends playing soccer


My Team

Serving on The Rice Family Foundation Team at Susie E. Tolbert Elementary School has created an interesting bond with my team, a combination of my family and friends. After I talk to or vent to anyone on my team I usually feel better and they are able to help me get past what might have happened during my day. But the key difference lies in the fact is that they are able to fully understand the highs and lows of what we do unlike friends and family outside of City Year. 

The Rice Family Foundation Team at STES on  Opening Day


There are certainly more people who are an important part of my life, but I consider these three pillars to be the strongest parts of my support system.  I am thankful for my family, friends and my team: they keep me going when I have my rough days, without them I would not be able to do my best for the students.

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