CYNY South Bronx City Heroes kickoff

Emily Heerema, a 23 year old Stockton College graduate and a member of the South Bronx City Heroes team checks in with a recap of the kickoff of the year long City Heroes program.

After 3 months of heavy recruiting, the South Bronx City Heroes team managed to surpass our original quota of 48 students with attendance nearing 60 at our beginning of the year kickoff event, Heroes Training Academy (HTA) on January 17th.

Heroes Training Academy was a day of introductions, team building, and a healthy dose of stepping outside of comfort-zones for Heroes and corps members alike. The day was filled with activities that challenged the Heroes to get introspective, physical, and contemplative. They even had the opportunity to create and enjoy something edible. “Making Butter – What is Service Learning?” is an activity that shows students how important it is to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ components of a service project. Reflection is one of the most important components of City Year’s service mission. In teams of approximately 15, the Heroes shared stories about previous service, opinions on how they think service should be, and what they feel will be their greatest challenges and accomplishments for the year, all while passing around and gently shaking plastic bottles filled with heavy cream and marbles.

Heroes programs across the country were participating in HTA on the 17th. Their official start date was City Year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service where United States Congressman Anthony Weiner swore in CYNY’s Young Heroes and City Heroes at MS 302 in the South Bronx.After the opening ceremony the heroes participated in a Stereotyping Awareness activity and then made blankets that were donated to a local homeless shelter.

We held our first overnight retreat at The Point Community Center in Hunts Point. Forty-five students spent Friday night and all day Saturday getting to know each other better and planning for their year of service learning. Throughout the year the Heroes will be focusing on the theme “Violence in the Community” and their Saturdays will be spent exploring causes and solutions relating to this issue.

To learn more about the Heroes program, or how you can be a part of our service by offering your expertise, talents, or opportunities to volunteer, please contact me at EHeerema09 at

Thanks for the article Emily! We look forward to your updates throughout the year.