Last Thursday, surrounded by more than 500 family, friends, sponsors, partners, board members, and alumni, City Year New York graduated our eighth and largest corps to date. Our corps members celebrated completing over 400,000 hours of service and making a difference in students’ lives targeting the ABCs.
The highlight of every City Year event is when the audience gets to hear directly from a corps member. The Graduation keynote speaker is unique to most CY events in that the graduating corps nominates their speaker. This year we heard from Michael Soldati, PS 13 Corps Member, who share thoughts and appreciation for the 2010-2011 corps.
This has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my adult life and one that I will carry with me forever. I hope to come back to City Year in some regards, but for now I know we must part if I am to do my part in modeling for you all and for our children how a hero pursues their dreams. Therefore - I just want to say thank you, on behalf of every student that needed your tolerance, your encouragement, your creativity, your smile, every kid that needed turning around this year, I want to say thank you, because someone turned me around when I was astray, and that has allowed me to become the hero of my own life.
We would also like to congratulate Corps Members who earned special recognition for going above and beyond.
Anna Rivera Spirit Award: Anna Ray Rivera came to New York in 2003 as a founding City Year New York corps member after serving a year at City Year Boston. She was lost in a tragic car accident during Thanksgiving of 2003. After losing Anna, we decided with her family, to honor her legacy with the Anna Rivera Spirit Award to recognize an exceptional corps member who upholds Anna’s commitment to City Year and to community service, maintains a positive attitude, and serves with an open heart and an open mind. Congratulations to Sarah Shutt for winning this year’s Anna Rivera Spirit Award.
David R. Caplan Commitment to Service Award: David R. Caplan is he Vice Chair of the CYNY Board and Dean of CYNY. Due to all that David has done and continues to do, to advance National Service and City Year New York, we honor a Corps Member every year who has displayed a similar work ethic, drive and commitment to service and education. This year we are excited to honor Leah Hoffman for her strong passion for education making a lasting impression on City Year New York.
Finally we would like to thank and congratulate all of the friends and family of the 2010 – 2011 corps. Without you support our Corps Members would not be able to achieve the incredible impact that they had everyday in the schools and communities. We could not do this without your support and we look forward to continuing to work with you and our newest alumni as we launch our 9th corps this August.
See more pictures from Graduation
Photos by @Brieomalley
Earlier this month, Sharon Otterman of the New York Times, reported on the reduction in chronic absenteeism that NYC public schools have seen this year, highlighting several of the targeted interventions that have had positive results. On Tuesday, June 14, she visited PS 75 to see first hand the services that our corps members are providing to improve attendance rates.
At P.S. 75, a hulking old school near an entrance ramp to the Bruckner Expressway, a dozen young adults in matching uniforms form a line between the school buses and the entrance door, greeting children with hugs, high-fives and sometimes stickers. They work for City Year, a federal program that places mentors in high-poverty schools… Shimee Housey, 12, a fifth grader who was frequently late last year, shyly accepted a rainbow sticker from Heather Slivko-Bathurst, 22, one of the [City Year] mentors, as he arrived at school. “They help kids gather up focus in class, and help us learn,” Shimee said.
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Monday at PS 112 in Long Island City, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) helped us announce our 2011 – 2012 AmeriCorps grant. We are thrilled to have the support from Congresswoman Maloney, and the New York delegation who have continued to advocate for the Corporation of National and Community Service and AmeriCorps programs like ours.
“With tough budgets in Washington, federal education grants are becoming tougher to secure… Citizen Service is an essential part of the solution to many of the problems facing our city, especially in difficult economic times. Thanks to this grant, City Year corps members will be helping our children learn and strengthening our community as they develop civic and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.” -Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Also in attendance for Monday’s announcement; Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Susan Stern of the New York State Commission on National & Community Service, District 30 Superintendent Dr. Philip Composto, P.S. 112 Principal Rafael Campos, Representatives from the offices of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolen.
Not in attendance on Monday but sharing his thoughts was New York State Senator Michael Gianaris. “The receipt of millions of dollars for an essential education initiative like City Year is reason to celebrate, particularly as we continue to struggle with severe budget cuts forced upon us by the difficult economy.”
Congressman Jose E. Serrano (D – Bronx) also shared this announcement last week from his office in Washington DC. “The Bronx has benefitted greatly from the work of the City Year volunteers and we are thrilled that they will continue to serve in our community,” said Congressman Serrano. “As a part of the great AmeriCorps program, they are both helping our community, while learning more about the nation – and the experiences of Bronx residents. The learning flows both ways, and the experiences can be life-changing. I congratulate City Year for receiving this grant and thank all those who have answered the call to service by joining AmeriCorps.”