2017-10-06

During City Year Los Angeles’ 11th annual Opening Day celebration, 270 AmeriCorps members proudly pledged a year of full-time service in Los Angles’ highest-need schools. Over 500 champions, friends, family, and alumni gathered to witness the corps commit to serve Los Angeles students "with an open heart and an open mind." 

Serving in 31 schools across five L.A. neighborhoods, each of our AmeriCorps members is working toward one unified mission: help more students graduate. But the impact of service on our AmeriCorps members is mutually beneficial. That’s because City Year offers a unique double bottom line in the communities we serve – not only do we serve some of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable students, but we also work to develop our AmeriCorps members into our city’s next generation of leaders. 

"We are proud that every day there are thousands of City Year alumni changing the world as leaders in sectors such as education, non-profits, public policy, media, and technology."

-Mary Jane Stevenson, Executive Director, City Year Los Angeles

Meet four of those phenomenal change agents, our Leaders of Tomorrow, who are taking the lessons of service and shaping the world around them.


From left: Gaby Mariani, Jenny Camacho, Scott Bartuska, and Jay Craft

JAY CRAFT

AmeriCorps member
Hulu Team at Belmont High School 

"I can only imagine the difference nine more months will make." 

I joined City Year because of Jalen, my 9th-grade brother. Working closely with him as tutor and coach has taught me the importance of listening and putting yourself in other’s people shoes. I use this knowledge to help my students – like James. When I first met James a month ago, he was disruptive in class, never wanted to do his work, and hung out with the wrong crowd. I took the time to get to know him and connected with him on a personal level.

After learning that he wants to be an artist, I told him what he needed to do to reach his dreams – a conversation he has never had with anyone else in his life. I’ve started to see the change him – he goes to class on time and does his work. I can only imagine the difference nine more months will make.

While I guide students like James this year, I will be faced with tough situations that will force me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, and sharpen my skills to be a successful human resource professional and high school football coach in the future.

I want to be an advocate for employees – like I am one for my students - at a community-conscious organization and continue to guide youth through sports. 


JENNY CAMACHO 

2nd Year AmeriCorps member, Hauptman Leadership Fellow, and City Year Teaching Intern
Rosenthal Family Foundation Team at Santee Education Complex  

"These communities are filled with an abundance of love and potential."​

I come from the east side of Salinas, CA - a community just like South Central. Growing up, I was surrounded by the struggles of working-class families alongside the pressures and effects of living in a community plagued with gang violence. But I was able to see beyond that. These communities are filled with an abundance of love and potential.

It was my family and the teachers who were from my neighborhood that made all the difference in my education. I dedicated myself to school because of them, those teachers who were once in my shoes and guided me in the right direction. I want to be like one of those teachers, who understood my struggles and helped me push forward.

City Year is giving me that opportunity. Now into my third year, I have served in a school similar to my own, collaborated with teachers, and gained the skills and tools to serve my student’s needs. And, this year, I am part of City Year’s Teaching Intern program, where I will continue to gain more experience in the classroom, learn best practices, and receive mentorship from teaching professionals from all levels.

Next year, I will lead a classroom of my own, empowering the students of South LA to find confidence and courage to persevere against all odds.


SCOTT BARTUSKA

Senior AmeriCorps member and City Year Leadership Fellow
Comcast NBCUniversal Civic Engagement team 

"I want to fight against racial and sexual stereotypes.​"

After interning for production companies and feeling like my life had turned into “The Devil Wears Prada,” I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. Thus began my journey with AmeriCorps.

Last year, at Markham Middle School - I created safe spaces, like the Gay-Straight Alliance, and mentored 6th-grade students that struggled in class. This year - I am part of a team that beautifies schools across LA and a Leadership Fellow. As a Fellow, I will gain the communication skills, intuition and conviction to help create social impact in the entertainment industry as a showrunner and writer.

I want to fight against racial and gender stereotypes. I want to create stories that empower young LGBTQ students to break down their closest doors of oppression and inspire people to fight for a cause greater than themselves. 


GABY MARIANI

City Year Los Angeles alum 
Senior Campus Recruiting Specialist at Deloitte

"City Year provides professional skills that are critical to the growing demands of today’s workforce."

I was born and raised just a few blocks from here in South Los Angeles. I'm a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

My life could have taken a very different direction had it not been for my parents and the educators who mentored me throughout my academic career. From their example, I felt inspired to do the same.

So, in 2007, I joined the City Year Los Angeles founding corps. It was the most transformative year of my life and has made me the leader I am today.

I didn’t realize how well City Year had prepared me for my professional career until I attended business school where they introduced strategies that I'd already learned in my service: team builders, training strategies, relationship building, professional feedback, and understanding one’s leadership style. These are just a few of the skills I learned as a corps member and that have allowed me to be successful in my career. Today, I work on the talent acquisition team at Deloitte – managing the highest performing new-hires team in the firm!

City Year not only provides students pathways for success but also prepares a diverse group of young adults by delivering vital leadership development and professional skills that are critical to the growing demands of today’s workforce. 

 

See more highlights from Opening Day #StartStrongCY

 


For more national service inspiration, please check out:

Teacher from City Year Los Angeles

Idealism in Action: A Day of Physical Service at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex

 

Roosevelt High School male AmeriCorps members
Back to School with City Year L.A.

 

 

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