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Sending forth tiny ripples of hope

On Sept. 25th we celebrated Opening Day with Los Angeles Unified Board President Monica Garcia and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, who swore in our 270 AmeriCorps members. At the ceremony, City Year AmeriCorps members officially pledged to dedicate a year of full-time service to thousands of students in 32 Los Angeles Unified schools.

This year we celebrate the “tiny ripples of hope” that our service has sent forth throughout Los Angeles. The idea that many distinct acts of courage can create ripples that turn into currents of justice is a powerful concept first introduced by Robert F. Kennedy, and has become a tenet of City Year.

During the Day of Affirmation address in South Africa, Kennedy said, “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Our dedicated AmeriCorps members have been sending forth “tiny ripples of hope” to the students and communities of Los Angeles for the past 12 years. In that time, we’ve seen many of those graduates reflect on the importance of the iconic City Year yellow jacket and return to make the same commitment in their community.

City Year AmeriCorps member Jessica Lazaro proudly shared her story of being the youngest of three sisters who have served with City Year Los Angeles.

City Year AmeriCorps member Ellie Oros reminisced about seeing City Year AmeriCorps members illuminating her community with laughter, positivity, and energy. City Year’s steadfast presence has made a positive difference in the heart of her community of Westlake, and inspired her to join City Year.

The power of mentorship has had a lasting impact on the young leaders of Los Angeles such as City Year AmeriCorps member Steven Colin. At Opening Day, Steven spoke about how his mentor inspired him to pay it forward.

City Year AmeriCorps member Makaila Smith also spoke about the ripple effect of City Year. She followed in her aunt’s footsteps to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member at the very elementary school she attended.

With nearly 12 years of service in Los Angeles, we are beginning to see the current that will “sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance” through national service.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this special day. We look forward to another excellent year of service.


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