-Written by Jesula Charles, 23 years old from Miami, FL serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal Team at Bakersville Elementary School
Inspiring students, leadership development, new adventures, fashionable service boots and cultural exchanges are just a few benefits in a long list of everlasting positives City Year provides to Corps Members and the surrounding communities. The foundation of City Year service and the center of memorable corps experiences are the people we meet. City Year brings together diverse young people who have one passion in common: helping students break their glass ceilings through education and mentorship. So is it a surprise or shock that many corps members in the past and present have found and will continue to find lifelong friendships and relationships here at City Year? No, because many corps members have been fortunate to find what many at City Year New Hampshire in the past have called a “City Year Soul Mate.”
A City Year soul mate is a person who a corps member connects with either instantly or over time as a co-worker, friend or significant other. A City Year soul mate can be: the co-worker who compliments or, challenges your leadership style and forces you to grow through understanding and collaboration. A soul mate could also be the friend who helps with lesson plans, gives advice on your life path, and comes along for the ride as you explore new cities. Interactions and experiences with this soul mate allow for growth and a better personal understanding of one’s outlook on life.
Everyone who serves with City Year may not find his/her “City Year soul mate,” because in order to form this bond, there must be a strong connection that supports efforts and the desire to incorporate people in your personal life after City Year. This is what makes our year of service memorable because it challenges past experiences, enhances character and forces many to understand that his/her service is greater than each 50 hour week. Service brings young people who are vastly different and would have never crossed paths, together under one belief for an intense and rewarding 10 months. So, there is a distinction between the relationships that are only a couple of laughs at the office and random movie nights and planned excursions outside of City Year uniform and after graduation.
City Year creates that foundation for a lifetime of fulfilling bonds between people. Please do not interpret or compare a year of service to a dating or resource center for friendships. The bonds have rippling affects because these life time relationships are created through the love of service that will influence future communities and create service oriented families with children who will grow to love contributing to their communities. The trend has been noticed and will always continue because of the power and human aspect of service. Therefore, I encourage corps members to look to their left and put in the effort to get to know new people because you never know who could be your “City Year soul mate.”