My name is Jairo Estrella and I am a 21-year-old Hispanic male living in Brooklyn, New York. This is my first year as a corps member and I serve on the T-Mobile team at P.S. 13 in East New York, Brooklyn. I also grew up in Brooklyn so it means a lot for me to be able to serve these neighborhoods. I believe that City Year is a place where you can be tired of a certain issue in your community and want to make sure that other communities aren’t faced with the same problem. City Year allows you to do something to change that outcome.
While I have been at City Year I have taken part in several service days. A City Year service day is when corps members lead volunteers in hands-on service to beautify schools or communities as much as we can. As a corps member, I am able to engage in conversation with the volunteers and find out what they do in their prospective field of work. Volunteers are often corporate sponsors, potential sponsors, or members of the communities we serve.
On January 21, City Year had what we call “the Super Bowl of Service,” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We met up with volunteers at Long Island City High School in Queens to complete various projects throughout the community. MLK Day was one of the greatest things I have done in my life to help somebody. There were almost 1000 volunteers between City Year corps members, City Year Young Heroes and City Heroes, and people from the Mayor’s Volunteer Center. A few of the projects that were completed include murals of inspirational figures in New York history, blankets for a homeless shelter, and bookcases for LIC High School. City Year also had a ceremony to kick off MLK Day with special guest speaker Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Mayor came out and gave a speech about youth and how the service that City Year does should be done by all youth. He said, “Everybody should do service at some point in their life.” This made me see that the work I’m doing is getting noticed, even by people as important as the Mayor. This inspires me to serve every day.