Today, I have a starfish story.
Working in City Year is really demanding. Fifty plus hours a week is the norm. One of the first things we are told is that we will lose sleep. The next thing we lose is perspective. At times, I have asked myself if all my hard work effective. Does it matter to anyone else besides me? The other day, I nonchalantly posed question to a group of kids that I was working with in after-school. I asked them how has City Year helped them in their lives.
One of the students, Mo, told me about one day he was feeling really down on himself. “I was just having an off day. I felt stupid and my mind was blank. I was really frustrated and acting out in class. Then I ran into City Year and they took my aside and let me cry and get out my frustrations. I really felt good to talk to someone.” Mo continued to say that he like how that he felt like there was someone always there for him. Mo then introduced his friend John to City Year. John eagerly continued the story by saying, “ I learned a lot in Starfish (leadership program) especially how to treat your body and to take care of yourself. City Year let’s kids participate and that we mean something”.
Right now personally, I don’t feel like I am making a big difference and that I feel a little listless at times about my work. I understand that there is a bigger cause at hand. Hearing them say all those sweet things made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. These kids look up to us. It is our responsibility to make sure that we are setting the right example.
I also asked them what they didn’t like about City Year. They replied that they wished that City Year was they everyday and that we had more things for them to join. I then explained to them the other rigors of City Year besides school service.
As my team likes to say, “it’s for the kids”. It is for them, who knows how CY will affect and cause ripples throughout their life.