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On July 15, 2019, City Year San Antonio (CYSA) was recognized with its second ‘Stephen G. Woodsum Best of City Year’ award during the organization’s national Impact Supercharger in Boston. The ‘Best of City Year’ award recognizes CYSA’s successful private sector fundraising efforts and enhancements to the AmeriCorps experience, which included the establishment of a food pantry where corps members could access non-perishable food, personal hygiene products and household goods while living on a stipend throughout their year of service. During the 2018-19 school year, 90 City Year AmeriCorps members served 6,500 students in eight schools in the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD).

City Year San Antonio’s efforts to further engage and develop AmeriCorps members were led by the site’s new Learning & Development Director, Courtney Wai, a Teach for America alumna who joined City Year after most recently serving as a Special Projects Manager in the City of San Antonio’s Office of Equity. “The growth and development of our AmeriCorps members is not only critical to ensuring we provide every student we serve with the support they need to succeed, but also to ensure we help develop our AmeriCorps members into strong, civically-engaged leaders for life,” said Wai.

"I found that the learning and development sessions on classroom management, especially with a social-emotional lens, gave me the most practical tools that I want to bring into the classroom this year. Sessions on positive narration and restorative justice, for instance, gave me concrete ways to integrate equitable practices and proactive classroom management into my class culture," said AmeriCorps member, Kristen Hernandez, now an SAISD teacher at Ogden Academy. "The greatest strength I've taken away from City Year is definitely my flexibility. I know that I have the ability to communicate proactively with administration to do whatever needs to get done to support my students, even when unexpected situations arise. I feel much more confident and fully equipped for the first day of school,” continued Hernandez.

“The individuals on campus each day in their red jackets represent meaningful relationships for our SAISD students,” said SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “We congratulate City Year San Antonio on this award and its incredible support of its AmeriCorps members who develop these key, mentoring relationships and provide the consistent support to our schools and students each day.”

The award also recognizes CYSA’s strong relationship with its funding partners. The site exceeded its private revenue goal for the second year in a row, achieving 75% of its $3 million, three-year Challenge Grant from the Valero Energy Foundation. Progress toward the Valero Challenge included five new multi-year commitments, that also support CYSA’s $450,000, five-year challenge grant from Carlos Alvarez.

“We could not do this work without the young people who dedicate a year of their lives to serving our community and supporting our students and schools. And, their service is made possible due to the generosity and unwavering support we receive from our champions. We are humbled and proud to serve our students and community, and we thank everyone who plays a part, including our AmeriCorps members, our partners, and our dedicated Board and staff,” said City Year San Antonio Executive Director Kelly Hughes Burton. 

City Year San Antonio joins eight other City Year sites in being recognized for the annual award from among 29 communities across the country. City Year sites are assessed on service impact, AmeriCorps member recruitment and retention, financial health, staff development, board leadership and stakeholder development.

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