compiled by Tyler Jones, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps Member
Every year, all City Year AmeriCorps members and staff have an opportunity to dedicate their red City Year jacket to a person, cause or idea that has meaning to them. Here is what five members from the City Year New Hampshire site had to say about their red jacket dedication:
I dedicate my red jacket to those who need help finding their voice in this world or have ever felt as if they need more support. Growing up in urban communities, it was far too common for me, my peers, our teachers and mentors – when there were mentors – to experience the struggles of being under resourced. Every day, I saw my friends and classmates drop out of school and wished for a way to have additional support, opportunities and guidance.
When I put on my red jacket, I want my students to know I’m there for them. They will have someone cheering them on, someone to push them and challenge them to reach their goals. My red jacket is a symbol and a promise, to them and to myself, that this year I will encourage and support these amazing young people to be the motivated, self-advocating dreamers I know they can be.
Charlie Jones, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member serving at McDonough Elementary School
For this year of service, I dedicate my red jacket to my high school band teacher, Mr. Claussen. When I think about a positive experience in school, I think of my time in high school working with him in band class. I was a shy student, but through his guidance I became confident enough to take on leadership experiences, such as band council. This involved managing uniforms for the band and planning fundraisers, such as a school-wide cabaret. If he didn’t take the time to get to know me or help me, I would not be who I am today. I would like to be like Mr. Claussen with my students by helping to bring out the best in them like he did for me.
Emily Yunes, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member serving at Hallsville Elementary School
While listening to the stories of my fellow AmeriCorps members during our Red Jacket Ceremony, I felt inspired by the meaning behind their red jackets. This year will be filled with both ups and downs, so on the days I need an extra boost, I will remind myself why I wear my red jacket.
My parents were not raised with many privileges, but because of them I was. Growing up, one of the greatest lessons my mom and dad taught me was the power of giving back. No matter what we had, we still had the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Throughout my life, I have always tried to follow this belief. As I start my year-long journey with City Year, I dedicate my red jacket to my parents. During my year of service, I want to be the extra boost of support my students may need to believe in themselves and become the best students they can be. I want to be a positive influence to my students and make my family proud.
Jamal Choudhary, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member serving at Bakersville Elementary School
Attending my second Red Jacket Ceremony was an emotional experience. Last year, I dedicated my jacket to my friend's brother, Mike, who died in a hiking accident before my start with City Year. In just 24 years, he changed people's lives with his devotion, love and kindness. Mike was a true outdoorsman. He had an unmatched passion for nature and care for the environment. He inspired me to care more about Mother Nature and respect Her. Every time I put my jacket on last year, I was sheltered with strength guided by Mike's spirit. He may not have been here physically, but I felt his presence and a duty to serve with full compassion as Mike would have.
This year, I dedicated my jacket to "Live Like Mike," a slogan his sister has coined to continue spreading his sprit throughout the world. To "Live Like Mike" means you live a passionate, genuine and adventurous life. Every time I put my jacket on I am reminded of his legacy and the continuation of his spirit. This red jacket symbolizes much more than myself as I wear it with the hope of someday fully living like Mike.
My hope is to spread Mike's spirit to my students. Every morning when I put on my red jacket I am reminded of Mike and the courageous life he lived. I hope to spread his courage, positivity, kindness and love for nature to my students. There is a lot of negativity in the world and I believe we could all use a little more of Mike's positive energy in our lives. I serve to "Live Like Mike" as a continuation of his legacy.
Jamie Gallup, Senior City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member at Hallsville Elementary School
City Year New Hampshire’s Red Jacket Ceremony was probably one of the most intimate moments for me as a City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member because I had to really be honest with myself and ponder why I decided to serve a year in the city of Manchester. When I was thinking about what I want to dedicate my red jacket to and my “why” for serving, I had initially thought about my nieces and nephews. As the first person in my entire family to move far away from home, I wanted to show them that they can do anything.
Then, I reconsidered what I said; what was going to truly express who or what I was going to dedicate my red jacket to was to begin a journey of living life sin miedo, to be unafraid. That is exactly what I want my family, friends, and most importantly the students I work with to take away from having me as a City Year AmeriCorps member.
This idea of living sin miedo and how it translates to my service is that it allows me to be unafraid when serving a community I knew very little about, which takes a lot of courage and the willingness to make a difference. Since beginning this year of service alongside my fellow corps members, living in an entirely different community made up of different types of people, I became more and more unafraid of this journey and this experience. I realized that I had to be unafraid of being myself, be ready to serve, and do my very best to make a difference in the lives of others. I would make the most impact by being unafraid and unapologetically myself.
I dedicate my red jacket to the concept of living sin miedo because I want to be a role model to my students and those around me. I want to show them that to be true to oneself and to be unapologetic about who you are as a person and what you stand for is how one should live. Being a first-generation Latina here in the United States, I hope to live and serve sin miedo to a community that I have come to really care about, and to show my students that if I can do this, then that they can too. They can be the best version of themselves, reach their full potential, and most importantly live unapologetically and sin miedo.
Lissette García, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member serving at McDonough Elementary School
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