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Leaders Are Born When They Become Fearless

If you had told when me starting City Year, that I could be a leader in any way shape or form, I would have laughed at you. Coming into this process, I did not have the greatest amount of confidence, nor the greatest amount of self-esteem 

Becoming a Leader  

 I feel like the first time I showed leadership was during the Hopkins Lloyd Community meeting, a teamled meeting where we share more about our year of service. I stepped up to share my Life’s’ Work, which for anyone is not an easy thing to do. When someone shares their Life’s Work, they share about all of the impactful moments that led them to where they are today. I had to not only be vulnerable during this meeting but share the parts of myself that I’m not the biggest fan of sharing (such as my ongoing struggle with my mental health). Sharing that with 100+ of your coworkers is such a scary thing, but after that, I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. After this presentation, I signed up to lead more spaces and felt more comfortable in my own skin.  

Impact Manager and Team Leader Support  

Throughout the year, my Impact Manager and Team Leader have been there for me every single step of the way. My Impact Manager, Amanda, has always been there for me throughout this year. She’s the one who has listened to me when I was stressed and also celebrated my highest highs and for that, I’m so thankful.   

My Team Leader, Krystin, inspired me to apply to be a Team Leader. She’s always been one to not only keep it real but has also been such a great support system. If I come close to half the Team Leader she is next year, I would consider myself content. I’ve had other AmeriCorps members on my team step up for things and that also inspired me. I had the mentality that, if they can do it, so can I.  

Another leadership role I took on was stepping up for Spring Break and helping plan programming. Amanda supported me through and through and told me to never give up. She tells me that she appreciates me, which really helps me know that what I’m doing is enough. Our check-ins aren’t often, but I feel as though I check in with Amanda about once a day through text. She’s always been there for me and for that I can’t thank her enough. I hope I can be there for the AmeriCorpmembers I’m leading this upcoming school year (wow, that sounds really weird to say, but hey new adventures!).  

This year has taught me to not only be adaptable but to be fearless and really go for what you want. I’m going to take what I learned as an AmeriCorps member and bring it to new heights as a Team Leader next year. Not only have Amanda and Krystin inspired me, so has my entire team at Hopkins. I couldn’t imagine serving this year with any other group. They’ve all taught me how to lead, stand up for myself, and to always do the right thing. I’m going to miss this team bond so much, but I’m so proud of the work everyone is doing in their own journeys and I’m so excited to sit back and watch them achieve the greatness that I know they will. Hopkins Lloyd forever <3 

Article written by Neha Sajjad, AmeriCorps Member


Neha Sajjad proudly serves as a City Year AmeriCorps Member at Hopkins Lloyd Community school and is a proud alum of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She chose to serve because she wanted to give back to the community that gave her more than she could have ever dreamed. “I want to bring joy to everyone I encounter and show them that being yourself can get you far,” Neha said. “I want to inspire young people and show them their full potential. I want them to see how special they truly are and how they have the power to change the world, she says “I want to be a voice for the ones who can’t speak.”  

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