On September 12th, the entire City Year New Hampshire site gathered for an incredibly significant moment in our service year: the Red Jacket Dedication Ceremony. Each AmeriCorps and staff member receives their red jacket on this occasion and dedicates their jacket to a person, idea, or cause that inspires them to show up as their best selves every day of service. Our Red Jacket Dedication blog series features stories from our AmeriCorps members on what inspires them to put on their red jacket every day and deliver excellent service.
By Kelsi Bucknam, AmeriCorps member serving on the Northwest Elementary School Team sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal.
Several months ago, if you asked me what I would be doing this fall I never thought it would be City Year. After I graduated from college at Plymouth State University my plan was to go to law school. As I thought more about my future plans, I realized I had a passion for service and helping others. I want to make a difference in the lives of others, and that is why I chose City Year.
September 12th, 2019 was the day of our Red Jacket Dedication Ceremony. That day, along with the rest of the AmeriCorps members at City Year New Hampshire, I was so excited to get my red jacket. As we gathered in our circle preparing to start the ceremony, I realized who I wanted to dedicate my jacket to. At first, I thought I would dedicate my jacket to my mom who has loved and supported me in everything I do, as well as teaching me the importance of helping others. Then the idea finally came to me: I wanted to dedicate my red jacket to my niece, Jewel, who was born just a month before this ceremony. I dedicate my jacket to my niece in the hope that one day she will have her own red jacket and the same drive to help others as I do. I wanted to dedicate my jacket to her because on days where I feel like I can’t go to service I can think of her and remember why I am truly here. This year I hope to make a difference in the lives of students. In particular, I want to instill in students a love for learning and to remind them that learning is a process and it’s okay if you don’t understand something yet. My dedication will help me this year by being that reminder to myself of what I hope to accomplish this year. I knew I wanted my dedication to be meaningful and I can’t wait to tell her about this one day.
It was a symbolic and beautiful moment for everyone as we dedicated our jackets to our moms, students, partner teachers, friends and loved ones. In this moment I realized how lucky I am to be part of the City Year 2019-2020 team. There is just something about hearing everyone’s dedication that made me realize why I am really here dedicating a year to service. This moment showed me Ubuntu, which is a Zulu proverb meaning “my humanity is tied to yours,” and one of City Year’s values. It showed me that we are all connected to each other, and what that truly looks like as we zipped up our matching reds.
I am so lucky to have the City Year New Hampshire community at my side, especially my Northwest Elementary School team. I was extremely nervous to start my year of service and fulfill my duties as a City Year but then I reminded myself that I have the support of my team, partner teacher, and staff throughout this journey. I came to City Year New Hampshire to make a difference in the lives of others and that is exactly what I will do this year.