Choosing a city to serve in for a year of service can be a difficult decision. When you apply to City Year you get the opportunity to choose from 28 cities, so why Jacksonville? We asked some of our AmeriCorps members this very question, and here are 10 of their responses.
1. “I have always been the type (of person) to do random things. So, I closed my eyes and picked one. It turned out to be Jacksonville. I really like it, I do. My favorite part is the weather. It’s also nice to be able to go to the Town Center and the beaches in the same day!”
-Arielle Conley, Wells Fargo Team at The Edward H. White Military Academy of Leadership
2. “I really like the weather and I wanted to get out of the Milwaukee area. Jacksonville was far enough away that I felt like I was experiencing something new, and that was my goal. I have really enjoyed being able to go outside anytime that I want to do some fun activities.”
–Conner McCullough, Team Leader on The Rice Family Foundation Team at Susie E. Tolbert Elementary School.
3. “I knew I needed to get away from Orlando, because I grew up there and went to college at UCF. I wanted to challenge myself with somewhere new. I knew I didn’t want to go to Miami and I didn’t want to travel too far north. Jacksonville was a perfect in-between! I also wanted to go somewhere I was needed. It was far enough that I knew I could get personal growth and I was helping where they needed me!”
- Binita Devkota, George Washington Carver Elementary School
4. “I chose Jacksonville because my mother relocated to South Carolina and my gram (grandmother) is in South Florida. Jacksonville was a half-way (point). I didn’t know anything about Jacksonville except that it was the city with all the bridges. But now I am cheesy because I love to see the skyscrapers, maybe because I am from a big city. I love being able to drive on the bridges and see the entire skyline!
- Dara Radtke, George Washington Carver Elementary School
5. “I picked “Send me where you need me the most,” and here I am. It worked out because I love the beach. I am the kind of person who will lay and read but then get up and be active so this beach is perfect for that, unlike my Californian beach which is too cold. Some days my boyfriend and I will go and play rugby or just hang out. It is perfect!”
– Jenna Turner, CSX Team at Northwestern Middle School
6. “Honestly it came down to logistics. I knew I wanted to be in an urban city when I served but I didn’t want to go all the way West. It gets really cold where I went to school so I needed to go to the south. Jacksonville is a great distance, I did not know anything about it, but it has grown on me a lot. There are a ton of secret spots; little areas of Jacksonville that are just really cool. Plus the food is amazing!”
- Liz Williams, Sea Best Team at William M. Raines High School
7. “I wanted to serve where I grew up. I thought it was a good idea to serve where you are from, and serve students that are in your area. So, I could be more relatable to them. I could be an example and say “See I am from here. I am from the same schools. I come from the same type of neighborhood y’all come from. I am here, doing this. You don’t have to get stuck.”
-Maya Queen, CSX Team at Northwestern Middle School
8. “My brother, his wife, and their two kids live here. When I saw that Jacksonville was an option, I got really excited because I could be near family. It’s honestly my favorite part about Jacksonville.”
-Lauren Flanagan, Team Leader at Highlands Middle School
9. “I had been here before for the Florida vs Georgia Game, and I knew it was a cheaper place to live, comparatively. It worked out because I love the beach here. I don’t like going to the beach but it’s really beautiful to look at. Downtown is also awesome! I went to the art walk, I got great food, earrings and some history of the town.”
- Kiara Lee, Highlands Middle School
10. “I worked with Habitat for Humanity building houses in this neighborhood last year. After that service, I wanted to give more, but by working with students. I actually really wanted to be in this school I’m serving in, so I got lucky. I am getting the chance to serve the same neighborhood I did last year.”
– Jessica Griffith, The Rice Family Foundation Team at Susie E. Tolbert Elementary School
Jacksonville is a big city with a small, southern feel. We hope you consider us when choosing what city you want to serve in.