Sam Marchman first learned about City Year when she was studying social issues as a student at Georgia State University. Several books about urban education in the South Bronx, and other similar inner city neighborhoods gave her insight into a situation that the 22 year old Huntsville, Alabama native had not experienced. It opened her eyes to the fact that there were children going to school in dilapidated classrooms, where they had to share textbooks and could not take books home. “Reading these accounts gave me a deep sense of obligation to do something with my knowledge. The educational inequality that exists in the U.S. struck me as something we shouldn’t have to face. As a nation with so many resources, children should not be the ones to suffer.” Sam learned about City Year and our mission and realized that a year of service could help her address situations similar to the situations that she read about and more importantly offered her the chance to contribute to the solution.

Joining City Year fueled my passion to provide children with an inspiring environment and people to get them excited about learning. It was hard to believe that as one person I would have an effect, but I couldn’t not try. As a Young Heroes corps member in the South Bronx I learned that there are small ways I could make a change in young people’s lives. I had always believed that top down strategies were more effective in creating large scale change but through City Year I had the powerful experience of giving middle school students a voice. On Young Heroes Saturdays I was able to provide them the space to think about inequalities and plant the seed for social activism.

This year I came back to City Year as the Service Leader for the Development department. I returned to learn more about the structure of organizations and how they run effectively day-to-day. My second year is showing me where I can excel and have the greatest impact. In the future, I hope to hold law makers and policy makers accountable to giving fair opportunities to underprivileged students like the ones we work with at City Year. I believe that every child deserves to have hope and happiness, to pursue their own dreams and have the chance to succeed.