On the morning of Monday, July 11, City Year welcomed 1,400 participants (City Year staff, Senior AmeriCorps Members and guests) from across the country and world to our annual week-long Summer Academy on Northeastern University’s campus. Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, this year’s Academy is centered around the theme of Idealism in Education: A Pathway to Social Justice.
After checking in our participants, our network joined together in Matthews Arena for our Opening Ceremony. We gathered as a one City Year community to open our year of service ahead of the 2016-2017 school year.
Each year, we kick off the Opening Ceremony with Senior AmeriCorps members from each site sharing their “why I serve” statement and we welcomed our newest site, Memphis.
Martinique Mims, a senior AmeriCorps member serving in Cleveland, shared, “I serve because in this current state of our world children can teach us to grow, to love, to give. I serve so that the little black boy or girl that was told they can’t, know they can. I serve for all students because I know each one deserves a voice.”
Sandra Lopez Burke, VP & Executive Director of City Year Boston welcomed the network to her city and introduced us to who has worked with City Year since third grade - Ismael Diallo, from English High School. Ismael asked for a moment of silence from the audience in honor of the pain the country has been feeling and urged City Year to continue investing in building relationships with students.
Many leaders from the City Year community spoke on the importance of our work within the current societal backdrop. Michael Brown, CEO & Co-Founder urged us to cultivate ripples of hope and empathy. We also heard remarks from Phil Robinson, SVP of Regional Site Operations, Jonathan Lavine, Chair of City Year’s Board of Trustees and Co-Managing Partner of Bain Capital and Stephanie Wu, SVP & Chief Program Design & Evaluation Officer.
In closing, AnnMaura Connolly, EVP & Chief Strategy Officer, honored a City Year and AmeriCorps Champion, Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Wendy Spencer has been influential in the starting of 8 different City Year sites including the newest addition to the City Year community, Memphis. She was honored with a Seven Generations Award of Service.
After this powerful start to the week, we are fired up for a week of aligning, building, and connecting as a network wide community!