be_ixf;ym_202405 d_29; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

Celebrating City Year Philly’s 2022 Graduation Award Winners

Left: Tyrea Barnes, Comcast Site Leadership Award Winner

Right: AmeriCorps Greatness Award Winners Lydia Izzo, Tessa Hannigan, Andrea Barajas, and Ray Deschamps (not pictured)


City Year Philadelphia’s 2021-2022 service year officially wrapped up last Friday, June 17. Our entire site came together in person (for the first time in three years!) to celebrate, congratulate, and thank our AmeriCorps members for their year of service during an extremely unpredictable and challenging school year. Click here to watch the full ceremony.

Each year, City Year Philly presents awards to a handful of extraordinary AmeriCorps members for going above and beyond and exemplifying a commitment to excellence in service. This year’s award winners are: Tyrea Barnes, Andrea Barajas, Ray Deschamps, Tessa Hannigan, and Lydia Izzo.


Tyrea “Rea” Barnes, Team Leader at Bethune School, received the 2022 Comcast Site Leadership Award. Rea is part of a small but mighty group of CYP alumni who have completed three years of service. Rea’s manager, Tim Schmidt, was impressed by her leadership capabilities and dedication to her students.

“Rea goes above and beyond in her creative approaches to rallying her team, students, and the entire school community. Her humility and intense care have won her praise from leaders from Bethune and City Year. We are all better leaders because of the contributions Rea has made to various levels of her service; whether in the schoolhouse, affinity groups, coordinator roles, village leadership, or her time on Corps Council. Rea continues to remain in touch with each of the teachers she’s partnered with during her service experience, each of the team leaders who she has worked with, Bethune’s principal who routinely desires check-ins with Rea, and all of the scholars who know her name or simply know the love and care she brings to all the spaces she enters.”

-Tim Schmidt, Senior Impact Manager at Bethune School (CYP alum ‘17, ‘18)


Andrea “AB” Barajas received the Greatness Award for the Civic Engagement Team. In her nomination of AB, Impact Manager Amy Siever took note of her positive attitude in the face of adversity.

“AB is consistently going above and beyond the expectations of a RACM [Returning AmeriCorps member]. She gets to service early to prepare for the day, conducts her own checks for understanding during meetings to make sure she knows what her next steps are, and approaches challenges with a positive attitude. As a staff member, I have yet to see AB on a bad day. Although some days are more challenging, she looks towards how to make a project possible instead of seeing the obstacles as making the service impossible.”

-Amy Siever, Impact Manager at Muñoz-Marin Elementary


Ray Deschamps, Second-Year AmeriCorps member at Bethune School, received the Greatness Award for the Lighthouse Village. Ray’s manager, Tim Schmidt, spoke about his kindness towards both his students and fellow teammates.

“As our team Trust and Joy coordinator for two consecutive years, Ray has gone above and beyond to ensure our team fosters a sense of belonging, understanding, and care. He has planned and facilitated a monthly potluck that continues to energize our team and provides everyone with a chance to take off the metaphorical (and literal) Red Jacket so that we can exist in one another’s company with food and team-based gaming. In his SYCM [Second-Year Corps member] role, Ray leverages his experience of serving virtually to build context and connections for his peers and offering solutions to the questions and challenges that they face.”

-Tim Schmidt, Senior Impact Manager at Bethune School (CYP alum ‘17, ‘18)


Tessa Hannigan, Team Leader at Sullivan Elementary, received the Greatness Award for the Water Village. Tessa’s manager, Caitlyn Gaskill, started as a new Impact Manager midway through the school year and was extremely grateful for Tessa’s steadfast support and leadership while acclimating to her role.

“Not only did Tessa help me learn my role, but they also have successfully led our team through many challenges. […] Tessa always stepped up to find solutions to the issues presented to us and never ever once complained. In addition, they always considered the needs and opinions of our team when making these decisions, something I think shows a sign of true greatness. Their team adores them, their students always come and tell me how much they love having Tessa around, and they are consistently thinking of the best ways to engage students and the school community.”

-Caitlyn Gaskill, Impact Manager at Sullivan Elementary


Lydia Izzo, Team Leader at Harding Middle School, received the Greatness Award for the Ripples Village. Lydia’s manager, Rob Fronta, joined the CYP team just a few months ago and was immediately impressed by Lydia’s leadership skills and dedication to her students and teammates.

“Our teams have difficult jobs, rewarding but also legitimately difficult at times. The team at Harding has been in a constant state of flux and challenge this year. From school climate to Impact Manager transitions, they have weathered many storms in these almost 10 months. None of this would be possible without Lydia Izzo. She rises again and again to the numerous challenges our team faces. What’s more is she does it with joy, passion, and strong relationships built with each team member. She genuinely cares about the whole school community, students, staff and Corps.”

-Rob Fronta, Senior Impact Manager at Harding Middle School


Thank you and congratulations again to our incredible 2021-22 AmeriCorps members! We appreciate all that you have done for the students of Philadelphia, and we look forward to seeing where you go next.


Are you considering a year of service, or do you know someone who is? City Year Philly is currently accepting applications for the 2022-23 service year! Click below to start your journey.

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