By Cady Hickman, corps member serving at Parker-Varney Elementary School
Value, Values, and City Year
Value. This is a term that refers to an object of worth. In modern society, worth more often than not translates to money. Therefore, does value only refer to money? It is a necessary commodity, yes, but as the saying goes: “Money can’t buy everything.” At City Year, we have our own definition for values that doesn’t have anything to do with money, but with idealism. Our values shape us as corps members and help us make our service become more than simply helping out in a classroom.
Quoted from the City Year website:
“City Year’s core values represent the deepest beliefs and highest aspirations of our organization. We strive to ensure that these values animate our culture of idealism, inspire our actions, and inform our decisions on a daily basis”
These values are: Service to a Cause Greater Than Self; Students First, Collaboration Always; Belief in the Power of Young People; Social Justice For All; Level Five Leadership; Empathy; Inclusivity; Ubuntu; Teamwork; and Excellence.
My individual service and what I do in my day to day is not what’s important because what really matters is what we accomplish with our students, our schools, and our communities. The focus of my individual service is not myself, but the students whose lives we have the opportunity to change. Coming in every day and refusing to believe that we work with “just kids” is of huge importance. The youth we work with today are the future of our communities, our country, and our world. Because of this, we as corps members need to help make sure their future is a just and equal one.
Money cannot teach a corps member how to be a Level Five Leader, but a “city year” can. With that leadership, we can learn to relate well with others in our year of service and help foster inclusive communities. We can help show others that our individual humanity is linked to everyone around us and that if we work together we can promise a brighter future for future generations. City Year realizes this is ambitious, but by highly regarding these values in our daily service we assure excellence.
Modern western culture frequently attributes value to commodities. The higher the price, the higher the value. However, these commodities often tend to go out of style or become irrelevant. Conversely, the City Year values are priceless and everlasting. By holding these values in high esteem, and by reminding ourselves what they stand for and how they impact our day to day work at City Year, we are assuring that we stand for something much bigger than just my personal service, my team’s service, or the service of corps members 13-14.