There are a few unique days at the City Year Headquarters for Idealism when tables are clustered and the surfaces are cluttered with items: brightly colored fleece, scissors, buckets of paint with splashes down the side, smocks, and paintbrushes.

Last night, 25 women from the City Year Boston (CYB) Women’s Leadership Network made fleece hats and scarves and painted colorful murals for the Otis Elementary School in East Boston. The murals feature portraits of education and social justice icons, such as Michelle Obama and Paulo Coelho, and the hats and scarves will be given to each student on Valentine’s Day, just before their February vacation.

“Every student matters, and every one of us can make a difference to every single student.”

The Women’s Leadership Network is a group of philanthropic women who support CYB and seek to engage with the Boston community through networking and projects that support our city’s schools. This event had a fun spin: projects were accompanied by a wine tasting sponsored by The Urban Grape and paired with delicious food from Formaggio cheese shop. 

WLN member Katie Basson shared what she loved about the evening: “It’s kind of like one of those ladies paint nights. You get to chat, have a little wine… but it’s also inspiring. And you actually have somewhere to put the painting, to brighten a hallway or a classroom.”

Principal Paula Goncalves from the Otis School joined last night along with Eleanor Adams, Special Education Coordinator of the school. Principal Goncalves delivered an important message: “Every student matters, and every one of us can make a difference to every single student.”

City Year’s legacy from its earliest days is comprised of service events where volunteers work on projects to support the community. They put together student and teacher resource kits for Boston Public Schools, assemble hygiene kits for nearby shelters, paint decorative murals to brighten school walls, and refresh outdoor recreation spaces.

CYB hosts a variety of service days throughout the year that range in size from smaller niche events, such as last night’s Sips & Service, to day-long events, such as Thanksgiving Service Day, where hundreds of people roll up their sleeves to serve schools and community partners.

Service events are a unique way to build connections and give back to the community. Learn about our other service days and volunteer opportunities here – we hope you’ll join us at our next event!

Contributed by Becca Canavan


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