2014-06-19

An Open Letter to Next Year’s Corps

Dear City Year 2015,

Welcome to City Year New Hampshire and to the beginning of one of the most transformative ten months of your life. Here, in the city of Manchester you will learn how to make a difference in a child’s life, how to be both a team player and a leader, how to live a life of service and how to be the best person you can be. Or at least City Year did those things for me.

I’ll admit I wasn’t really sure what I had gotten myself into those first few weeks of August. All those P.T. moves we do like “Granite Jacks” and “Chain breakers” made me feel like maybe I’d joined a very peppy cult. And the more my family asked about what I was doing in the fall, the less I could tell them. But I had joined to make a difference and I knew from the moment I stepped into that office and saw Martin Luther King painted on the wall, and when I met my fellow corps members for the first time everyone seemed so kind and determined to make a difference in this world. Their energy only fueled my own idealism. I didn’t know then that applying to City Year was one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life. It would change everything.

The first day we met the kids they didn’t even know my name yet- but they saw my red jacket- and they ran to me, excitedly shouting “City Year!” At first I blushed, not used to the attention. I had never worked with children before and I’ll admit I was a little nervous that first day in my classroom. I didn’t realize how much I would learn from these children and how much I would personally care about each of them. Their successes and failures became as important as my own. I was determined to help each of them in whatever way I could.  I believe that the most important part of our service is making connections with our students, role modeling and tutoring them in math and Language Arts. And while I was able to help them grow as people, the children did the same for me, teaching me that I could be a leader in this world. It’s funny how we learn as much as we teach when working with kids.

That being said, City Year will not always be easy and there often be times when you will reconsider your enrollment in the first place. I’ll be honest; there were times I considered packing up and going home. But like we say at City Year, “This is hard. Be Strong.” What will keep you strong through those long hours and hectic schedules is the promise you made to the kids that you would be the consistent, positive role model that they might not have at home. You will be  a shoulder to cry on, a playmate at recess, the first person that greets them at school, the one who is just as excited as they are when then they ace a math test, the one who knows all the coolest morning meeting games, and  the one who truly believes in them. That’s what they need most of all, someone to just believe in them.

  Through City Year I have been inspired to continue my life in service. I know that I have been given unique tools here at City Year, and have tried my best to take advantage of every leadership opportunity I could. Because at City Year you aren’t just making a difference for others, you are making a difference for yourself. Congratulations on being accepted to City Year. It was one of the best decisions you ever made.

Best of Luck,

Felicia

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