Last night was the Young Heroes Showcase on the Seacoast region of NH. Young Heroes, their parents, Team Leaders, Junior Team Leaders, even the Board Chair for City Year New Hampshire came out to see what the program and kids have been doing so far this year.
It started off with the usual stuff…hellos, intros, etc. After that, one of my teammates, LaRie, put on a slide show that she made; it had pictures from every fall service day(service projects the kids did before the program officially started) as well as pictures from all the Saturdays from the official program. The fall service days were a long time ago so it was great to take a trip down memory lane with the Heroes and the pictures. LaRie also wrote detailed and meaningful descriptions of all the events. I really appreciate the work she put into it.
My favorite part of the night was when people gave testimonials of their Young Heroes experience. A Junior Team Leader that I’ve been working with directly got up to speak and it made me tear up a bit. She has been having a hard time lately and to see her up there speaking so confidently and passionately about her time in the program was very moving. She, like the others that spoke, shared how much the City Year and Young Heroes has impacted her life in a large way. For her, it gave her new friends, loads of confidence (before Heroes she said she would never have gotten up to speak in front of us), community involvement, empowerment, and so much more. I was very proud of everyone. My other teammate, AJ, spoke about his transformation from a Young Hero to actually being a part of City Year and being on the Young Heroes Team. I got close to tearing up there too : ) Seeing him grow from our first day in City Year to who he is now has been amazing.
By the end of the night I felt refreshed and ready to get back to making this program great. I realized just how much the program means to these kids who have spent up to 4 years of their lives coming out on Saturdays to try and make a difference in this world. When planning a Saturday you kind of forget or get wrapped up in making sure things run smoothly to actually take in the true purpose of it. It’s more than educating kids on social issues, it is to change lives. If I change one kid’s life then I’ve done my job.
Young Heroes has changed my life after less than a year. I never saw myself impacting others in such a powerful way. I sure didn’t see it impacting me how it has and I definitely didn’t foresee myself getting worked up/emotional just from writing about it.
I hope you all have enjoyed reading about the work I do and taking a deeper look into this great program.