City Year: The Leadership Development Program

CITY YEAR… wow, there is SO much to say! But, let me start off by telling you exactly what it is. City Year is a leadership development program that unites youth ages 17-24 of diverse backgrounds to commit 10 months of full time volunteering in exchange for an education award of $4,725. There are 18 sites in the United States, and one in Johannesburg, South Africa. Amazing isn’t! Well, I am currently serving my term in San Antonio, TX and I am loving it!

So, what do we do? Good question! City Year provides tutoring, mentoring and leadership development to at-risk youth as well as participates and facilitates civic engagement throughout the community; there are six teams in San Antonio and I am on the Casey Family Programs Team. This is the first time that San Antonio as ever had a Casey Team and they chose me to be apart of the building of this partnership. To be more descriptive, I work with youth ages 16-26 that are getting ready to and/or have transitioned out of the foster care system. I provide tutoring and mentoring for these youth, as well as co-facilitate a women’s support group. Moreover, we are going to get into the experience. I love that I, of all people, received this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of youth that haven’t had that many people in their lives that care.

This youth, although people write them off, have so much to say, they can and will people the voice of tomorrow right along with us! All of the obstacles they have faced and overcome will boost them up if they let it! There past is their future and I am so excited to see where they go to live because of their strength to overcome. As you can see my experience with these youth have been amazing and has caused me to realize, people had it much worse than I did; there is no room for complaining!

This experience has changed, made me a better person, and if it weren’t for City Year I wouldn’t be here in this position. City Year is also a great networking environment; we meet so many important people it isn’t even funny! Now that I know who I know, because of City Year, I will never fall behind because I have people backing me up! On top of that, the people are inspired by you and what you are doing, so much so they want to be involved in your life! You get catapulted out into the city through civic engagement, and surprisingly the people you touch will always remember you, no matter what! All in all, this has taught me more about who I was, who I am, and who I can become. You can find more information about City Year here!