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Keeping City Year With Us Beyond Our Service
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In this line of work, it is sometimes easy to get lost in the details, to get tangled up in the every day, and we lose sight of the broader lessons and important values that infuse themselves with us. Part of the beauty of serving a year (or several) with City Year is receiving the knowledge and unique experiences imparted upon us. Thankfully, the time spent in service is not in isolation from the rest of our working lives and our further experiences. In fact, I would argue that this should solidly inform everything that we do for the rest of our lives. However, in order for this to be so, we must consciously strive to soak in every part of what we have gone through in an effort to keep City Year with us beyond our service. It is worthwhile to do so, and is the proper way to honor our hard work and the students who have shaped us.

This year took great courage, and grit to the highest degree. It took passion and empathy and time-management. Sometimes is even took tears, whether they were born of pain, joy, or fear. All of these things are of paramount importance - they helped shape us into the people that we are today. Our time at City Year changes us, at least a little, and this is to be celebrated. Many people will go through their whole lives never having had an experience that challenges them or makes them stronger in their convictions. Now you can never say that, can never be trapped in a stasis - your City Year has given you tools and training and frustrations and heartache and hope that have hopefully cemented your ability to recognize what you will bring to the future.

Think of your students, your teacher and your team often, and cherish those memories in good times and in bad. When you feel hopeless, remember that student that you never gave up on and think of what they would need you to do should it have been them in your place. When you are exhausted, think of the starfish that kept on trying, even when they didn’t understand or all the odd were stacked against them. When you feel helpless, recall what kept you motivated to try to reverse years of hardships and failure and insurmountable challenges for your kids. When you feel foolish, remember the first day of power greeting and know that you will never be perceived as more of a joker than you were in that morning. If you can make it through one City Year, you can truly do anything.


Erica Rickey is serving as Team Leader with City Year Jacksonville. She graduated from Wooster College majoring in Political Science. This is her second year with City Year Jacksonville.