Written by Libby Bramson, Senior AmeriCorps Member at Horace Cureton Elementary School
Wednesday, May 11th was a beautiful evening in Atherton, CA. Over 200 guests gathered for City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley’s third annual “Women Investing in Education” event. Tom and Shannon Fallon graciously offered their beautiful home and backyard oasis to host the event. The appetizers were yummy, the conversations were lively and guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
During the program, two City Year AmeriCorps members, Bianca Alaniz and Dani Weishoff shared their experiences about the strong, passionate and influential women who helped shape their lives and educations. Bianca grew up on the Southside of Chicago with a single mom and 4 siblings. Her mother knew that education was the way out of the neighborhood and she continually supported and encouraged Bianca, even when she didn't want to hear it. Bianca graduated from college with a 3.4 and her mom was in the audience to cheer her on! Dani spoke about her mom and aunt, co-CEO’s of a global company, who inspired Dani, the quiet student in the back of the classroom, to stand up and speak out. They told Dani that if she didn't speak up for herself, no one else would.
Followed by AmeriCorps members was the honorable Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, in conversation with Diane Dwyer, an award winning reporter from NBC Bay Area. Sec. Albright was full of grace, honesty and sass. She discussed her life abroad, living in and learning in many different countries and finally settling in America when she was 11. She expressed that becoming an American was the most important thing that ever happened to her. Her story is the epitome of the American Dream, from humble beginnings to a place in the White House. She did all of this at a time when the narrative of women being told was that of the homemaker wife. Sec. Albright shattered the stereotype by getting her Ph.D. while raising 3 children and working her way up in politics. She told us a story about her 7 year old granddaughter who simply doesn't think Grandma Maddy being a lady Secretary of State is a big deal because “all Secretaries of State are ladies!” Sec. Albright was presented with a yellow jacket of her own, and she eagerly wore it with pride.
Jennifer Johnson, City Year board member and champion, closed out the night with a call to action. She did not ask the attendees for monetary donations, but of donations of time. “Come have lunch with an AmeriCorps Member, come visit a school. Come and see what we are doing!” City Year is grateful for all who attended the event, and hope to have the opportunity to share more about the progress City Year can make for thousands of students in East San Jose.
To see more photos from the night of the event, please visit our Flickr.