I had the pleasure last Friday of participating in City Year’s Opening Day, held under a tent behind Seattle City Hall.
Comcast was the national sponsor of Opening Day and has been a national sponsor of City Year since 2003. Locally, we have supported the City Year Seattle/King County chapter with cash and in-kind support as well as by serving on their board of directors. I’ve been a board member for about a year; before I joined the board, Comcast Senior Vice President Len Rozek, was a board member.
What’s City Year? It’s kind of like the Peace Corps only with an emphasis on volunteering in the United States. Instead of building basic services in another country, City Year corps members spend a year of fulltime service working in local schools. Their mission: keep kids in school and reduce the dropout rate.
Across America, 1,750 young people on opening day, including 60 in Seattle, dressed in their signature red jackets. They pledged a year of full-time service to community and country as well as to the 2010 City Year corps.
They were joined in Seattle by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, City Council President Richard Conlin and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.
At Comcast, we support City Year for a variety of reasons, all of which make sense from a logical perspective. We believe in City Year’s mission. The organization is well run and gets results.
But I think there is an emotional reason as well.
The energy, creativity, passion and optimism of the City Year corps members are infectious. The Corps is unique to City Year. They can walk into a school, immediately bond with the students, gain their trust and get the job done.
Over the years, I’ve watched City Year corps members in the classroom. They occupy this unique position of being a mentor and role model to the students, but also a friend. I’ve witnessed firsthand the bonds they’ve made with their students.
I’ve also worked side by side with dozens of corps members during Comcast Cares Day, our annual day of giving. I always reach the same conclusion after volunteering with corps members: our future is in very good hands.
Perhaps most importantly, along the way, City Year corps members grow and become leaders in their own right.
They believe without any doubt that they can change the world. Having met hundreds of City Year corps members over the years and witnessed firsthand what they can do, I believe they just might be right.
You’ve seen the pictures and read the blog post. Now, Watch the Movie!