Boots on the Ground

Timberland has had the privilege of partnering with City Year for more than 20 years.  What started out as a simple request — “We need boots.  Please send some.  Love, City Year” has over the years grown into a mutually beneficial relationship that has helped us create a deeper, broader, sustainable impact in our communities — and helped to equip thousands of young leaders to make their own difference on our world.

As 1,500 current corps members across the country prepare to graduate this month, we’d like to share the following excerpt from an essay written by a young corps member in Los Angeles.  Whether you’re intimately familiar with the City Year organization or have never heard of it, it’s hard to read without feeling just a little bit hopeful (or maybe even a lot) about the future in these passionate, capable young hands.

(The City Year uniform) represents the unity we feel. Regardless of where we come from and where we serve, we are all at City Year for the same reason: We want to change things; we want to help. We are each spending a year serving full-time in schools and communities to make a difference in the lives of others. Or, as our motto puts it: “Give a year. Change the world.”

Along with what the uniform represents, it is also a constant reminder of many of the memories and lessons that I have learned from City Year.  After serving for so long, a corps member is bound to bear some war wounds on their uniform. At this point, my boots are pretty worn out.  On my right boot, there’s a streak of yellow paint from the day we painted a mural at Figueroa Elementary School. I could have tried to wash it off if I really wanted to, but I cherish this stain. It’s a reminder of the beautification work that we all do across Los Angeles.

* * *

Our uniforms aren’t just uniforms. They are symbols of what we stand for and what we have done. However, there is still a lot of yellow space yet to be filled, inevitably, with more paint and scuff marks.

There is still more work to do.

You can read the essay  “No Ordinary Uniform” in its entirety on the GOOD website.

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