On Saturday, January 29th, 13 City Year Seattle corps members volunteered at City Hall’s 2nd Annual Open House. Hosted by Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle’s city government departments, the Open House was an opportunity for Mayor McGinn to highlight his plans for the Engage Seattle initiative and the Cities of Service Plan, both of which are programs designed to encourage more citizen voice and involvement within the city of Seattle. Corps members organized tours, spoke with representatives of different government departments, and passed out schedules to aid the city and to see firsthand how local government works.
Corps members also had the opportunity to meet with City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Mike O’Brien, Jean Godden, Sally J. Clark, Tom Rasmussen, Bruce Harrell, and Tim Burgess, all of whom were encouraging and supportive of the hard work that City Year does in schools. When corps members Autum Martin and Melissa Jensen visited Councilmember Jean Godden’s office, the Councilmember introduced them to the other constituents who were gathered in her office:
These young people dedicate a year of their lives to helping our students in Seattle public schools. Can you imagine? Taking a year off from their other activities to help the kids who need it most.
After the councilmembers heard about City Year’s In School and On Track initiative, they asked about the role City Year will play in the 2011 Families & Education Levy which aims to help all Seattle children with their readiness for school, academic success and achievement, and graduation from high school.
Mariel Venhuizen, a City Year corps member, put it best by stating, “Personally, I think that a lot of our goals align with that of the levy because we’re in schools every day, working to ensure that the youth in Seattle have the resources they need to graduate. And because of our emphasis on collecting data, we can really see the positive benefits that City Year has upon students.”
At the end of the day, all City Year volunteers were given a tour of the mayor’s office and had the opportunity to meet Mayor McGinn. The mayor spoke of his appreciation for our work to keep Seattle students in school and on track towards graduation.
Venhuizen commented by stating, “Overall, I think it’s really neat that Mayor McGinn opened up City Hall for the public to visit. It gives Seattle residents a chance to interact with their local government. As a City Year corps member, I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Open House and learn how the mayor and city councilmembers view our work.”
Text by Sherry Tiao, City Year Seattle/King County External Relations Project Leader
Photos by Jen Nance