Parents of former City Year New Hampshire corps members have a unique perspective – witnessing first-hand their son's or daughter’s experience through a City Year, and being able to see how he/she was changed because of the experience.
As the next generation of City Year AmeriCorps members heads home for the holiday season, we wanted to offer their parents and family members some perspective, sound advice, and appreciation for being supportive of this service year experience.
What did your son or daughter gain from serving with City Year?
“My son’s years with City Year, without doubt, have shown him that he can positively impact a child’s life as well a community. These experiences and trainings through City Year have cultivated a tremendous confidence in him that I don’t believe he would have gained without the City Year experience (or at least not as quickly). Learning that he could dig deeper…when needed…and that teamwork is essential to attain a goal, I know he gained very much from City Year.”
“Our son is very disciplined and serving with City Year helped to reinforce and enhance this quality. My son was able to experience the gift of giving back and volunteering his time, energy, and talents in a community that deserves it.”
“Our daughter came into City Year with a strong background in community service, a degree in education, and an interest in teaching and social justice. She spent a year working in a 5th grade classroom in Manchester. The City Year program enriched all her previous interests, but also gave her career-enhancing skills and a community of supportive peers and mentors. She gained valuable leadership and life skills. She was able to make a big impact on the daily lives of her 5th graders and see them grow. The program taught her those 'soft' skills such as leadership, positivity, self-reflection, and perseverance that are not necessarily part of a college curriculum but are essential for career success in any field.”
“Our son grew in many different and amazing ways. He saw firsthand the challenges faced every day by the students in his classroom, and learned how to mentor, inspire, and care for these students. He learned about teamwork, and developed great team skills from working with his fellow corps members and mentors. He bonded with his corps members, and made lifelong friends. He learned financial and social independence, and lived on his own in an apartment with two fellow corps members, learning to budget his own finances, and finding and leasing an apartment of their own. He learned responsibility, and worked very hard at his job giving 100% to his students, fellow corps members, and the local community. He gained motivation, and has excelled in college since graduation from City Year. He gained perspective, and has tremendous affinity and concern for those who face challenges in their daily lives. He developed confidence in himself, and has matured into an amazing young man with a large heart, wonderful sense of humor, and keen desire to excel and give back.”
“As a City Year corps member, our daughter gained self-confidence, leadership skills, how to survive on a limited income, and patience. But most of all an appreciation for serving others and the inner joy and satisfaction it can bring.”
“She gained empathy, love and respect for her students, teachers and fellow City Year corps members as she witnessed the challenges students faced and the determination and enthusiasm with which corps members worked to help the students. She witnessed how over-burdened and under-resourced teachers and school administrators were and the myriad ways City Year worked selflessly to help them, giving their time and energy to create a better environment for the students.”
Why are you grateful for the service experience your son or daughter had with City Year?
“I’m grateful for the service experience my son has had with City Year, as it has enabled him to grow immensely both personally and professionally. The numerous training sessions, team building exercises, team outings and group retreats have all had an impact on his learning so much about himself. In his two years as a corps member he was encouraged and enabled by City Year to serve on numerous committees and councils, where he was able to interact with community and school leaders and had a voice to express his opinions, but more importantly, learn how to impact change.”
“We are grateful and proud our daughter had the chance to serve for City Year. City Year is unique with its blend of service and education to prepare young people for the next step. She was not sure she would go to graduate school when she entered the program. The experience gave her the chance to reflect on what she really wanted. She is now a graduate student at the Boston University School of Education and was awarded a full scholarship for her service.”
“We believe City Year provided an incredible transformational experience for our son. We think the mission of City Year is extremely important and we saw our son completely embrace it. He was committed to his students and cared deeply about helping them. He also embraced the community service work – we loved hearing about the latest project or activity and how much pride he had in City Year’s missions! Our son was a recent high school graduate and therefore younger than most of his fellow corps members, and was able to learn an incredible amount from his college educated peers. We are extraordinarily grateful for how ready he was to attend college after CY. His growth in maturity, responsibility, and outlook were amazing. And lastly, his love for community service has continued in college where he has become one of the leaders of his school’s community service center.”
“We are grateful and very proud of our daughter for giving of herself and her gifts of caring, music, and creativity. We are appreciative of the three wonderful teachers who kept her encouraged and motivated throughout her year of service. They continue to support her with letters of recommendations and just a friendly email to see how she is doing.”
“The service experience with City Year helped her learn the importance of community. Her fellow corps members were a diverse group of sincere, hardworking and passionate individuals who came from different backgrounds socially and economically - they bonded over their common goal to help the students to the best of their ability. We are grateful that she got the opportunity to serve and make a difference no matter how small.”
What would you say (advice, support, encouragement) to parents/families of current corps members?
“Your child will work very hard this year, yes, but will gain so much in return. Know that they are surrounded with support from their team members, all the corps members and all the staff. City Year pushes them to dig deep, but leaders and friends are always there to support them. If you weren’t able to attend the opening day ceremony, try to go to the graduation. The corps members’ enthusiasm and cheerfulness is truly contagious. Walking into these events and being greeted by them is so very uplifting – and then to realize that the children at each school walk into that cheering, smiling and supportive group every single morning is incredible!”
“My advice to parents and families with a child serving in City Year is to listen to the concerns their child may have. This year of service is real, challenging, exhausting and may feel darn right impossible to continue at certain moments. Remind them to take it minute by minute, keeping in mind what they are doing really does make a difference.”
“Be proud of your Corps Member’s work and support their efforts! There are many pressures on them to go out and earn income immediately. Giving a year or two to City Year will impact your Corps Members positively in ways you may not realize now. Corps work is not easy, but as our daughter says, ‘it is the toughest job that you will love.’”
“It is a challenging program but the mission and rewards are completely worth it!! Encourage your child while knowing that City Year will make him or her a different person. And then spread the word about City Year’s amazing mission and help support CY for many years to come!”
“The best word of support for the year is patience. Patience when your child may call complaining of how tired they are from the long week they may have had. Just listen. Most of the time that is what they need most because, most likely, they have been doing a lot of listening themselves. They will get through. Have them think of at least one good thing that happened or they experienced. Most days there are many and some of them quite entertaining. It will be a year worth serving!”
“First, I would say congratulations that your son/daughter has chosen to serve. As they work with students, even though the progress they make is fulfilling, there will be challenges along the way. My advice would be to offer support and appreciate their efforts and to always be encouraging.”
Pictured above is Toby Hollertz '16 with his family at City Year New Hampshire's Graduation, June 2016.