In December 2016, City Year Seattle’s Alumni Board launched the Shoulders of Giants Alumni Giving Club. For just $10 each month, alumni are powering the service of City Year’s corps. In addition to supporting this worthy cause, Shoulders of Giants provides an avenue for alumni to reconnect and receive exclusive benefits.

City Year Seattle alumni board member, Emma Dixon, recently caught up with fellow CYSKC board members and City Year Greater Philadelphia alumna, Lauren Georgian, to talk about her continued connection to service.


When and where did you serve?
I served on the Civic Engagement Team (CET) at City Year Greater Philadelphia during the 2012-2013 academic year. When I served, we were the only location that allowed first year corps members to serve on the CET. Just a few years ago, a teammate of mine who is now the program manager of that team switched it over to only allowing second year corps members serve on the CET. 

What are you doing right now?
I am currently a designer/program associate working remotely at a small nonprofit in Philadelphia. The nonprofit, Compete 360, teaches the design thinking process to teachers so they can lead their students through solving messy and complicated problems in their school and community. We actually work with many of the same schools and kinds of schools (low-performing, underfunded neighborhood schools) that I worked with in City Year.

How has City Year impacted you?
I had a few reasons for giving a year with City Year. One, I was interested in designing to improve educational environments because education is a means of empowering others to solve their own problems, and two, I had a lot of questions about the cycle of poverty and its link to education. I didn't understand why a someone wouldn't be able to finish high school if they really wanted to and why they couldn't get a job after doing so. My City Year experience really opened my eyes to the inequality in our education system and the broken system that's keeping students from being able to succeed. I now feel like I need to be an advocate for those students, teachers, and schools.


Why did you choose to stay connected to the City Year community?
My connection and experience from City Year heavily influenced my graduate school design projects and my current work. It felt natural to stay connected to the organization when I moved from Philadelphia to Seattle last April. I also wanted to get a realistic view of the problems in education in this city. It's easy to see the fancy schools with excessive resources doing impressive things with technology, but I knew that wasn't the place every student in this city would have access to. I wanted to see what schools were struggling in Seattle. 

What's your favorite City Year memory?
My favorite City Year memory was when my team finished the last big service event that we planned! After the year of trial and error, we finally did something right and had almost all of the murals and projects completed by the end of the day.  It was hugely gratifying to have accomplished so much and such a relief to have pulled it off! 

What's your go-to take out food?
My go to take out food is a good ol' pepperoni pizza, which tastes especially good after a weekend of hiking!  

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