Ripples From Across the Pond

Today’s guest blogger is Nicole Bryant, Team Leader for the Credit Suisse Team Serving at PS/MS 57 in East Harlem 

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” —Robert F. Kennedy

Nicole Bryant showing our quests a visual that highlights the team's Credit Suisse sponsorship.

In my second year with City Year, I feel privileged to personally witness tiny ripples of hope spread across larger and more distant territory. This Monday, Francis Maude, British Parliament Cabinet Office Minister and Simon Day, British Consulate Member, walked through the doors of PS/MS 57, the school where I serve in East Harlem. Their mission was to learn about the corps experience and discover more about the key partnerships that make City Year tick.

In its 6th year of partnering with City Year, PS/MS 57 was the perfect launching pad to host such a purposeful round table. Joined by; Itai Dinour, City Year New York’s Executive Director, AnnMaura Connolly, City Year’s Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President, Lalita Advani, a representative my team sponsor Credit Suisse, and PS/MS 57’s vibrant principal, Israel Soto, the British officials gained a snapshot of the national service movement in US. I, along with Sarah Shutt, Events and Alumni Project Leader, shared highlights from our service year to balance out the diversity of perspectives present in the room.

Mr. Maude has already taken steps to awaken the spirit of service and community in the lives of young people across Great Britain. He sits at the forefront of Britain’s newly piloted National Citizen Service which aims to engage thousands of 16 year olds across the country in local service and social action. The program targets youth from diverse backgrounds much like City Year and seeks to create more inclusive and civic-minded communities. Minister Maude recalled a conversation he had with a particular 16 year old who commented, “What people don’t realize is that young people have misconceptions about other young people.”

Service has the incredible ability to unite people across the vectors of difference and illuminate the innately human qualities in us all. My hope is that this visit will send edifying waves of goodwill to foreign shores and inspire a cross-continental surge in service and civic engagement. My biggest takeaway from the experience?  Never underestimate the power of a tiny ripple.

Nicole Bryant, Sarah Shutt, Minister of Cabinet Office Francis Maude, Principal Soto, and Ann Maura Connolly