Ripples of Hope: Celebrating City Year’s Impact

Thank You City Year

City Year corps members make a huge impact upon the lives of students and sometimes, they thank us in especially unique and heartfelt ways. In this picture, a student wrote down everything he learned from their City Year corps members in the shape of a City Year logo.

On April 27th at 5:30 p.m., City Year Seattle will hold its annual gala event, “Ripples of Hope.” Our goal is to raise approximately one-third of our annual budget so that corps members can continue mentoring and tutoring students like Esperanza, Jayne, and Haytham as they go on to graduate from high school.

Here’s a look at our Ripples of Hope sponsors, with a special thank you to T-Mobile as our Ripples of Hope presenting sponsor.

To all of our sponsors: thank you for your gifts to City Year Seattle! You help make our work possible.

Register for Ripples of Hope today to support City Year Seattle and our community. We hope to see you there.

Comcast Career Day in Seattle!

City Year Seattle in Front of Comcast Headquarters in the Washington Region

City Year Seattle in front of the Washington Region Comcast Headquarters

Last Friday, City Year Seattle had the chance to spend time with Comcast employees when we met at their Washington headquarters for Comcast Career Day. City Year Seattle is lucky enough to be one of the 12 City Year sites participating in Comcast Career Day this year. After reading about the day in cities like Detroit and Boston, we were definitely excited.

City Year at Comcast

Throughout the day, we attended workshops run by Comcast recruiters who discussed utilizing our City Year experience on resumes, improving our interviewing skills and practicing professionalism in the workplace. We also participated in panel discussions with high flying executives and front-line representatives, finding out how they launched their careers and what it’s really like to work for Comcast. The Comcast employees told us over and over again, “Comcast is a great place to work! The company really cares about you.” By the end of the day, corps members like Kendall Morgan were asking, “Do you have any openings here for idealistic 17-24 year-olds?”

City Year Seattle Taking Notes!

We also met with several Comcast human resources representatives who reviewed our resumes to meet with us one-on-one and discuss how to improve them. I know I’m not the only person who has gleaned some great tips for making myself stand out. Corps member Hoang Lam said, “The most useful part of the day for me was probably the resume critique. Having someone else look at my resume and present a different perspective will go a long way towards improving my LACY plans.”

Corps member Mariel Venhuizen, who worked with Comcast to plan the day, said, “Comcast absolutely values the City Year partnership. They were basically willing to do anything for us and they started planning this day two months in advance. A lot of what happened that day was based upon the feedback we provided them, telling them what our corps members need to be successful after their year of service to their communities.”

City Year at Comcast Career Day

Generating ideas for resume writing.

Not only has Comcast supported City Year Seattle throughout the year with their Comcast Signature Service Days, but they are also helping our corps members prepare for our lives after City Year. Comcast Career Day was a day with much-appreciated advice for all of us on how to utilize our City Year experience as we launch our careers in fields as varied as education, medicine, law and public policy.

Thank you, Comcast, for working so hard to ensure this day would be great. We appreciate our partnership so much!

Text and photos by Sherry Tiao, City Year Seattle/King County External Relations Project Leader

Mayor McGinn Presents Kennedy Legacy Award to City Year

Presenting the President John F. Kennedy Legacy Award to City Year Seattle

As he was preparing to present the City Year corps members at Aki Kurose Middle School with the President John F. Kennedy Legacy Award for their service, Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn listened to corps members tell him success story after success story about students who had made tremendous gains this year at the school.

“President Kennedy inspired an entire generation of young people to work to change the world,” the Mayor told the thirteen young idealists gathered around the table. “‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’ Those are powerful words. That’s what you do. You inspire the students you work with, and that’s important. Thank you for your work in our schools.”

The corps members were excited to receive the award, and they were even more excited about the opportunity to talk about their students’ progress. Corps member Ed Brown told the Mayor about a student whose absences amounted to four weeks of class during the first semester and who has missed only one day during the second semester – and the student called Ed’s cell phone to make sure Ed knew that he was honestly sick that day, not skipping school.

“You’ve learned an important principle of organizing,” the Mayor told Ed. “There’s something very powerful about getting someone to make a personal commitment to someone else. That’s what your student has done, he’s made a commitment to you, and that’s powerful.”

Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn in a Roundtable

When team leader Nick Hernandez handed the Mayor a chart showing student progress on standardized tests in the school, the Mayor said “That was my next question: how do you guys measure your impact?”

Nick walked the Mayor through the data. “Each corps member has a focus list of “at-risk” students who show early warning signs that without intervention will be more likely to drop out of school. During the first semester of this year, the students on our lists advanced 54% more than the school average on standardized tests.”

Eighth grade teacher Mrs. Wickstead put this another way. “A lot of the students represented by this data are advancing a year and half or two years in a single school year. Many of them started the year very far behind and they’ve made significant progress. They’re catching up to their peers.”

Toward the end of the meeting, the Mayor had to hurry – he had volunteered to teach an eighth grade social studies class in four minutes. So he quickly turned to Aki Kurose Principal Mia Williams and asked, “What do you think? Do you like these guys?”

Mrs. Williams told the Mayor, “Besides making sure we have an excellent teacher in every classroom, this program is the most important thing we can do at Aki Kurose to help all our students succeed.”

Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn Listens to Corps Members

All of City Year’s corps members sincerely thank the Mayor for the honor of the President John F. Kennedy Legacy Award. It means a lot to them to be recognized for the hard work they put in every day at their schools. There’s a lot of work for all of us in Seattle – corps members, teachers, administrators, parents, volunteers, school districts, the city itself – to accomplish to ensure that our students have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life. As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

Let us begin.

Text and photos by Adam Nance, City Year Seattle/King County Development Director

Comcast Signature Service Day: Teamwork at the West Duwamish Greenbelt

Welcome to the Comcast Sponsored Service day!

Last Friday, City Year Seattle shoveled, wheelbarrowed, and shifted 28 tons of rocks at the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Sponsored by Comcast, our National Leadership Sponsor/Signature Service Sponsor, and organized by Seattle Parks and Recreation, the crew took off for West Seattle to continue building a trail that City Year Seattle has been working on since last year.

By the end of the day, corps members created 81 feet of base layer rock for the trail and completely finished 47 feet. Because this new trail is raised off the ground and has a built-in tunnel to facilitate water drainage, it is a significant improvement over the former trail, which had to be rebuilt each year because of storm damage.

Take a look at our day below to see City Year Seattle in action:

Heavy duty heavy lifting

Heavy duty heavy lifting

Distributing rocks to make the trail

Corps members were fired up with enthusiasm. Jacobo Jimenez of Seattle Parks and Recreation told us, "You guys moved more rock today than I've ever moved in a single project."

City Year and Wheelbarrows

City Year, wheeling through twisting paths.

Wobbly Wheelbarrow

Because of the bumpy rocks, the wheelbarrow began tipping over precariously . . .

Team work

until team members helped save it.

Corps Members Create Drainage

We set a tunnel under the trail to facilitate water drainage.

Large, Heavy Rocks

Corps members shifted incredibly heavy rocks in place.

Corps members starting the Trail

We were still hard at work mid-day, as it began to look like a real trail.

The finishing step.

Corps members put the finishing touches on the trail by smoothing gravel with precision.

The Finished Product

Great work, team!

At the end of the day, Jacobo Jimenez of Seattle Parks and Recreation told us,

What you guys did today has a greater-reaching impact than ‘we built a really cool looking trail.’ The trail that you saw here earlier today? We used to have to rebuild it on an annual basis. But the real problem wasn’t just the time and energy that we had to put into fixing this trail every single year. It was the sediment that would run off into the storm drains and Puget Sound. That sediment contained nutrients that could have helped enrich the forests but instead was causing algae bloom in our waters and killing off our fish. That in turn had a negative economic impact upon our region.

Now it sounds like I’m really stretching it here, but I’m not – what you did here today has a real impact on our community, and I want to thank you for it. You guys moved more rock today than I’ve ever moved in a single project. You keep raising the bar in your service and it’s really incredible.

Thank you, Seattle Parks and Recreation, for helping us facilitate this day. and working with us to accomplish so much. And thank you Comcast, for your support of the work we do and this region’s community. We couldn’t do it without you!

Text and photos by Sherry Tiao, City Year Seattle/King County External Relations Project Leader