At City Year, we have 25 founding stories that highlight our organizational values, keep us centered throughout the service year and motivate and inspire us. Although I have found all founding stories to be inspirational throughout my two years serving with City Year, I feel personally connected to “The Bridge Builder.”  

To me, “The Bridge Builder” founding story is an incredible piece that describes unity, connections, community and teamwork. It talks about how people need to set the foundation for future generations to be successful and obtain their goals.   

Last year, I served as a first year City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member in the high school pod, which our site affectionately called the ‘Bridge Builders.’  All AmeriCorps members and staff a part of the ‘Bridge Builders’ pod used the founding story to inspire and motivate us to have a powerful year of service. To me, being a Bridge Builder is the epitome of what it means to serve.  

Jouri Frank, Impact Director for City Year Milwaukee, was a part of the ‘Bridge Builder’ pod last year and served as an Impact Manager at Bay View High School. While reflecting on her experience as a member of the ‘Bridge Builder’ pod, she said that “A bridge builder is a visionary, someone who seeks perspective and must be selflessly working for the next generation. Last year our team decided to take on bridge builders as our identify. We realized that as we continued to grow not only would we need to be working in complete unison, but we would need more sustainable practices and resources to support our corps and staff. That was our aim and we realized the work that was needed to lay some foundations to make a greater impact for high schools and transform our high school service in the years to come.  We wanted to think of the possibilities that could be for City Year teams that supported high school students and fill those gaps with best practices, resources, and a sustainable work load. As we used that year to set the foundations for a transforming service, especially in high schools it is beginning to manifest, this year and will, even more, in years to come. We will have improved our service tenfold and our students, staff and managers that come next will be better off because of it. So, with the help of the foundations of bridge builders, future generations may say they have achieved great success.” 

Sarah Szymborski who is currently the Impact Manager at Rufus King International Middle School also shared what being a bridge builder means to her. She explained that “To me a Bridge Builder is someone who brings resources and helps create a path for the generations to come. It isn't "how is this going to benefit me" rather, thinking of others and how you can help them even if you're not there.” 

Being a bridge builder is all about selflessness and looking out for the next generation to make sure they succeed.  

Written by Joshua Moore, City Year Milwaukee Team Leader  

"I serve because I would love to be a part of something that will leave a positive impact in the world.  Becoming a part of a cause that is bigger than myself is something I want to do.  I believe that each scholar we work with has the ability to change the world in ways that we cannot fathom and with the right guidance from City Year we can help them do that."

Are you interested in doing a service year with City Year Milwaukee? Do you know someone who may be interested in helping students reach thier full potential? Visit cityyear.org to learn more about how to apply. 

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