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City Year Los Angeles Opening Day 2021

Earlier this month we virtually welcomed our 2021-22 AmeriCorps class, marking the official beginning of our 15th year of service in Los Angeles and Inglewood.   

Our Opening Day celebration was emceed by AmeriCorps members Jessica Alvarado and Nick Michael, who both serve as Project Leaders on our Los Angeles Civic Engagement team. 

During the event, corps members took to the virtual stage to share their passion for service and give audiences a glimpse into what motivates them as they continue to serve our city’s students. This year’s voices from the corps came from… 

Jessica Araiza, 

Team Leader, Flournoy Elementary School 

“[Just as a former educator did for me] I believe in the potential of every scholar that walks into this school despite what social constructs tell us. We are all inherently worthy to an equitable school system, that uplifts and empowers every scholar to step into their unique qualities and powers, despite stereotypes.” View the full speech here. 

Sage Cuza,

AmeriCorps member, New Open World Academy 

“Getting placed at NOW Academy after attending from 5th to high school here, I was extremely excited to come back this year as a mentor. The transitions students faced with online learning, on top of dealing with inequities as they formed their identity, made it especially important for me to come back this year.” View the full speech here 

Janet Lima-Ruiz, 

Team Leader, Carver Middle School 

“Being in Zoom classes with [students] last year, and seeing how little they retained, I knew they needed all the support they could get. I know I’m making a difference in their lives because the AmeriCorps member I used to have as a high school student at Manual Arts made a huge difference in mine. I am honored to do the same for the students from my community and be part of their lives one more school year.” View the full speech here. 

Katherine Marquez,

AmeriCorps member, Stevenson Middle School 

“Through my years of serving, I have witnessed my first cohort of students continue to grow. I first met them in 2019 and after 10 months of supporting them academically and social-emotionally, now, even after years, one being a pandemic year, they continue to connect with me even though I am no longer in their classes. To me, that is the positive reassurance that I have made a positive impact in their lives.” View the full speech here.   


Those in attendance also heard from our Executive Director Dr. Sandra Cano,  City Year LA Board Co-Chair Giselle Fernandez, City Year L.A. alumni Alfredo Crossman-Chavez Jr., LAUSD Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin, and special guest, singer, songwriter, actress and producer Ester Dean. It was surely an afternoon to remember with so many messages of encouragement and support to take-on this “city year.” 

Congratulations, City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps Class of 2021-22. Your excitement and dedication for service has already begun to leave its mark on our community, and we cannot wait to see what this year has in store for you. 

Couldn’t make it to the event? Watch the full program here. 

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