Here we are eight weeks into a national movement. We are eight weeks into service, tutor sessions, teamwork, soul searching, and triumphs. We are eight weeks into preparations to change the world. Eight weeks into City Year! So is it ironic that just this past Thursday, September 30, 2010, we made our pledges to the City of Manchester, to our schools, our students, and our selves that we are going to commit to the next eight months of service?
I think not.
The past eight weeks have been the snippet of what is to come. We have worked very long days making up 80-hour weeks. We have entered our schools and communities and witnessed the work we have cut out for us. We have spent countless hours training and working on multiple teams with multiple personalities. Physically and mentally exhausted, true colors have definitely shown when hard times hit our teams. We have been honest and open with fifty-four strangers who I’ve grown to love in their each individual way. We’ve shared our fears, weaknesses, passions, dreams, and strengths with each other. We’ve even shed tears on different occasions!
I believe it is only right that City Year gave us some time to experience and think before we swore into this major obligation. This past Thursday, fifty-five of us made that commitment and it was incredible. In our red jackets, City Year logo, Americorps written on one arm, and the American flag stamped on the other, Timberland boots on our feet, we each walked to the microphone and stated why we serve. Here’s mine:
“I serve because there is no greater feeling than working forward towards change.”
Each one of the corps members had their time in the limelight as the rest of us listened patiently. It was an inspiring time for me to see my team express themselves and for me to understand the reason why they are taking this year out of their lives for service.
It was humbling to continuously hear the gratitude felt by certain members of our community like the mayor, the superintendent of schools, parents, City Year Alumni, and perfect strangers. The crowd was there to cheer us on and thank us for the work that we have been doing and will continue to do. With the support of all kinds of people in the Manchester community, including our schools, our teachers, and principals, our national and local sponsors and especially our leaders in City Year, this year will greatly unfold.
I’m more than anxious to see what the rest of these eight months will look like. If it is anything like that past eight weeks of service, its time for me to buckle up and prepare for the time of my life!