The City Year Corps is a highly visible force for community service and social change in 20 communities across the country, London and South Africa. City Year “corps members,” ages 17 to 24, serve fulltime for one year – an “annual campaign of idealism” – addressing pressing community needs, including serving as tutors, mentors, running after school programs, cleaning up neighborhoods, and building parks.
Uniting from different racial, ethnic, socio-economic, educational and geographical backgrounds, the corps members serve in teams to solve problems, creating a spirit that transcends individual differences. By the end of their service year, corps members have not only made a difference in their communities, they have learned the value of hands-on involvement in democratic self government to prepare them for a lifetime of civic engagement. Corps members receive a bi-
weekly stipend and, upon graduating the program, an educational award of $5,550 from the Corporation for National Service that can be used towards future tuition or to repay student loans.
At the center of City Year’s idealistic culture is a growing collection of stories and quotes- “public dreams” – shared from many cultures. We call these stories and quotes “Founding Stories” because they have been woven into the fabric of City Year’s culture and beliefs since the organization’s inception- and because they are a foundation for our work: our collective civic values. The founding stories are a reservoir of wisdom and inspiration that guide us, set us on course, and remind us of the most fundamental motivations for our civic work. Moccasins is one example of the many City Year Founding Stories:
Oh Great Spirit,
Grant that I may never criticize
my brother or my sister
until I have walked the trail of life
in their moccasins
Adapted from the Cherokee Prayer
Service is a common ground on which all people can come together to begin the work of building a more just society – work that depends on striving to truly understand one another. Service also is a powerful pathway for having our “moccasins” prayer answered; through the common ground of service, we can all walk in each other’s moccasins, and once exposed to the experiences of others, we are more likely to understand perspectives and points of view that are difference, foreign, or even hostile to our own. It is essential that we learn to “moccasin” the world we encounter, to seek a broad inclusiveness in all endeavors, and to nurture a deep empathy within ourselves. Doing so generates wisdom, reconciliation, and social trust- vital elements for achieving human progress and lasting positive social change.
If serving and committing to service sounds like you, please contact the City Year Detroit Recruiting Staff.
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