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A Letter from a City Year Boston Alum

Give now to support AmeriCorps members’ service in virtual classrooms.

Isabel Barros is the City Year Boston Alumni Board Chair and she served at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School for two years. She works as an adjustment counselor at Somerville Public Schools. 

Stylized letter by Isabel Barros

Dear City Year Boston Community, 

During my time as a City Year AmeriCorps member, the brightest spots in my day came from the people around me. From greeting students with smiles as they arrived at school to connecting with my teammates after another powerful day of service, there was always joy to be found. We learned so much about empathy and caring for others that year. Eight years later and I still get so much joy from connecting with my teammates. (Shout out to the Burke!) 

City Year was built around the power of people supporting others. Though these are unprecedented times, City Year’s ability to bring people together for good has not wavered. While so much is uncertain, and – let’s face it – scary, I am filled with hope when I see how our community has come together. 

From making sure families and children have enough to eat, to checking in on our older neighbors, to staying home and doing our part to protect the health and wellbeing of people more at risk – the care we have for one another will see us through this time. And we all have a role to play in serving others. 

When schools closed, City Year Boston quickly shifted their service. AmeriCorps members are currently providing academic support in virtual classrooms – answering questions, assisting teachers in planning lessons, and reviewing assignments. They’re calling families’ homes to check in with students and build connectedness. Students love hearing from them! 

To our City Year AmeriCorps members – we know this isn’t the service you imagined, but I can’t stress enough how your work is more important now than ever. Thank you for your flexibility and dedication to leading with empathy, kindness, and open hearts. 

To our supporters – I invite you to join City Year Boston in celebrating their incredible young leaders, who are helping to ensure that students continue to receive critical academic services, coaching, and mentoring in these difficult circumstances. As part of the Starry Night campaign, you’ll hear stories from AmeriCorps members, alumni, teachers, and principals about the impact our service has on students. We are proud of the impact we have in the classroom, and even more proud of the opportunity to support our students when we can’t be in school

As someone who works in public schools, I know the difference a City Year AmeriCorps member can make in supporting home learning, and just by being another caring adult for students to lean on during this tough and confusing time. Whether in school or in virtual classrooms, corps members bring joy into learning spaces. They’re a bright spot for students – just as City Year, and the people who are part of this community, is a bright spot for me. 

Yours in Service, 

Isabel Barros 

City Year Boston Alum (2011-2012); City Year Boston Alumni Board Chair; City Year Boston Board Member 

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