"All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to make a difference."
Last week at City Year Philadelphia’s Opening Day ceremony, over 200 young leaders in Philadelphia pledged a year of service, and dedicated their symbolic red jacket to someone or something greater than themselves. The ceremony is a literal and symbolic beginning to a new year of helping students change their educational outcomes and their futures as a whole. One example of these dedications can be read below:
"Dr. Martin Luther King once said that 'Everyone can be great...because anyone can serve.' I serve because I believe that we are not merely able to serve, but we have a duty to our world to serve, regardless of where we are coming from. When it comes to service, all of us have the opportunity and responsibility to make a difference.
Two months after I graduated high school, I moved out of my house to a city where I knew no one to dedicate a year of my life to service. Through City Year, I found that the most powerful service engages entire communities and that a successful service event can bring people from all walks of life together under a singular goal for the common good.
Last year, we hosted our Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at my City Year school, William D. Kelley Elementary. Over the course of a few weeks my team worked with the City Year Civic Engagement Team, the team who plans these events to prepare my school. When the day was over, our school had been transformed. I’ll never forget that day and the understanding that such a diverse group came together solely to beautify a school for the students I love. On that day, I decided that I had to return to City Year Philadelphia on the Civic Engagement team.
My name is Liam Cummings, I am 19 years old from Shelton, Connecticut, and I am a proud AmeriCorps member serving as a project leader on City Year Philadelphia’s Civic Engagement team.
I dedicate my red jacket to all the lives we’ll touch and change through service this year."