New Corps "Meet & Greet" in Central Park

Guest Blogger Emily Heerema had this to share about yesterday’s New Corps Meet & Greet . . .

The morning was a balmy 65 degrees, with a grey sky. But by 3 pm, the sky above the Great Hill was clear blue, accompanied by a blindingly bright sun and puffy white clouds. “I called the weather man this morning, and asked him to make sure it didn’t rain,” joked Harlem Program Manager Chris Pellegrino at the New Corps Meet and Greet, held at Central Park West.

Senior Corps Members Katherine Bartlett, Paula Vera, Kyle Shedrick and Katie Denton, with the support of Recruitment Staff, organized an event for new corps members to meet each other in a comfortable, casual, and friendly environment.

Chris Daly, who is alum of City Year Boston returning for a second year with the New York Civic Engagement team, said “When I was a first year corps member, it was awkward because the first day meeting everyone was really formal and rigid. Today was the exact opposite. It was outside, beautiful weather, and inviting. I felt I was able to help people that were in my situation last year, and it shows what City Year has done for me – from feeling awkward and shy to being outgoing and able to help other people.”

Senior Corps Member Luke Rosnick said, “I know the event was intended for us to mingle with new corps members, but it was even better to see groups of new people talking to each other.”

While getting to know each other, corps members shared why they decided to join. Some people joined because they’ve seen City Year in their neighborhoods, like Tiffany Hamm of Harlem, who said she joined the corps because she saw City Year coming out of the subway every day. Onassis Porto, of the Bronx, joined City Year after being in the City Heroes program last year. Some were itching to do something different with their time. Vanessa Emerich of Kearny, New Jersey, learned about the corps after seeing a commercial while attending college in New England and was inspired by the tagline, “Give a Year. Change the World.” She’s currently taking time off for her year of service.

New York alum and current senior corps member Sara McCaffrey said, “I saw great promise for the year to come. I am so excited to the year to come and to get started with service.” Her sentiments are echoed. New corps member Adam Kane of Williamsburg, Virginia, said that if he had the opportunity to design his own program, it would center on expanding curriculum beyond the “need-to-know” basis. He said, “I want to encourage new ways of approaching education, and not focus on watered-down material.”

Taylor Van Putten of San Diego, California, moved to New York to spend his first year out of high school on an adventure. “I wanted to be somewhere that had positive feelings and atmosphere. I can absorb that energy and give it back to the community,” he said.

The 2-hour event, which had 71 new corps members in attendance, had its fair share of City Year culture and activities, including spirit breaks, strong circles, power tools and energizers. Feeling the energy and positivity of how everyone naturally came together, New York alum and current Senior Corps Member C.C. Hampton said, “I think we have a solid corps, and we’ll probably be changing more than the world this year.”

. . .Thanks for sharing Emily, and thanks for taking these great pictures of the event!