Posts Tagged ‘City Year’

In Our Boots, City Year Changes the World

The following video is billed as a “thank you” from City Year, an education-focused nonprofit organization we have had the honor of partnering with over the last 20+ years. But as you watch it, it quickly becomes apparent that the gratitude is all ours to give, for City Year’s powerful commitment and tireless effort to create positive impact and sustainable change in our communities.

City Year spirit laced up in Timberland boots: a pretty unstoppable combination.

One Day in a City Year

Blog readers will be familiar with Ryan and Kassidy Brown, siblings who are traveling from Alaska to Argentina in a “Journey of Action” — highlighting young people they meet along the way who are working to make positive social and environmental impact.

Ryan and Kassidy’s journey recently took them to San Antonio, Texas where they spent the day with City Year — an organization near and dear to Timberland hearts.  City Year’s San Antonio corps showed Journey of Action what leadership, dedication and positive impact means, and how they’re working to equip our next generation with the skills and opportunities to change the world.

110 Young Heroes Honor MLK Legacy

While many enjoy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day off, for City Year it’s anything but that.  City Year New Hampshire (CYNH) celebrated the day by opening the 2011 Young Heroes (YH) program, a service learning program that provides middle school students with structured, team-based opportunities to perform community service.  Through service, the program (now in its seventh year) is designed to educate middle school students on important social issues and give them the chance to impact their communities powerfully.  By fostering values of cooperation, character, and civic identity in children who are at a crucial juncture in their development, the program aims to develop the next generation of active citizens.

And it works!  Alumni of the program stay involved and help support the current Young Heroes participants through the program in a variety of ways.  Some alumni become junior team leaders and serve as role models who help with the logistics of the program and help run the service projects.  Another alumni team, called Devoted Heroes, is made up of high school students who meet once a month throughout the year to explore relevant issues ranging from living a healthy life to dealing with bullying and cliques in high school.

The degree to which Young Hero alums stay involved proves to me that the program has a resounding impact on its participants.  The YH program is run by a dedicated team of nine CYNH corps members which Timberland sponsors.  I’m really proud of this investment we have made to support the engaged citizenship of NH youth.

The 110 Young Heroes enrolled in this year’s program will serve in Manchester, Nashua and the Seacoast area of New Hampshire.  Last year’s class of 103 Young Heroes completed 15,000 hours of service during the course of the program; this year’s Young Heroes have already completed 2,000 hours of service.

I look forward to hearing of the impact of this year’s team of Young Heroes.  I also look forward to the day when a majority of us shift from thinking of MLK day as a day off and instead, like City Year New Hampshire, consider it a “day ON” that we can use to make a difference.

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.