A look back at the 2010 year of service

Welcome to the City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley blog! We thought we should take this opportunity to introduce you to us and talk about the service we completed over the past year.

City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley is heading into its 17th year of serving the San Jose community. This year we will have 50 first year and second year senior corps members working in five different schools tutoring students and running after school programming in the Alum Rock District or working in the office as project leaders.

Our corps will be registering this week and we couldn’t be more excited!

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, here is a recap of what we accomplished in 2010…

The Cesar Chavez "crazy team" poses for a team photo in the Santa Cruz mountains during our retreat.

Our corps began their journey in mid-August with trainings and a Basic Training Retreat at Happy Valley in Santa Cruz. We built our community with a lot of team building games and reflections. After announcing where corps members were placed for their service, they were ready to get into schools and start their work.

Corps members were deployed into five school teams and one civic engagement team.

At the schools, the corps assisted in classrooms, tutored students in math and literacy, helped run the everyday operations of the schools and ran after school programming. In the after school program corps members gave students homework assistance, did one on one tutoring, taught a service learning program and also held really great enrichments such as a school newspaper, a sports club, GEM, arts and crafts and much more.

The Civic Engagement team was responsible for planning all of the City Year physical service days and other external events. They planned everything from the location to the mural designs all the way down to in-kinding bagels for breakfast for the corps.

The volunteers gather for a community huddle before we get to service at Project Nspire.

One of the most exciting service days we held was Project Nspire, a service day where we partnered with Care Force and NVIDIA to engage more than 1,000 people in physical service at Mckinley Elementary School. Together, we painted murals, re-did the exterior paint of the school, built cabinets for classrooms, built an outdoor classroom and much more. It was an unforgettable day and we look forward to partnering with them again this year!

Once we got back from holiday break, everyone was looking forward to get back into service. Our first big project was MLK Day, which in City Year is “a day on, not a day off.” We engaged volunteers from all over the Bay Area to complete a (rainy) day of service at Lee Mathson Middle School. On that day we  painted inspirational quotations outside of classrooms, panel murals for classrooms and the library, built and painted benches for a butterfly garden which was planted at a service day from earlier in the year, academic words were painted on the sidewalks, we created a resource room for text books, a room for the student council and revamped the computer lab and created a science lab. Since we had a group of corps members serving at this site all year, it was an extra special day for all of us.

Corps members Daniel Becton, Phillip St. Clair and Nick Hedrick perform the "City Year Rap" at the talent show.

In February as our students had a week off, it was time for our group to come back together for Advanced Training Academy. It was a time for us to bond with one another and to go through some trainings that would help keep us prepared and energized for service. We had everything from a talent show to a donut eating contest to awesome team building activities led by Dean of City Year, Charlie Rose. It was a fun time for everyone!

While the year was half over, we still had a lot of service yet to come. The next major event was City Year Spring Camp. Each year, we hold a week-long camp for students all over San Jose to come together and make new friends, participate in fun games and interact with corps members in a fun, engaging environment.

The theme for the camp this year was “Heroes Solving Problems Around the World,” so many of the activities related to students being heroes in their own community. The San Francisco 49er’s Foundation came out and held a free football camp for the students, which was really great!

Students play in Copa de City Year.

Our next big event was Copa de City Year, a free soccer tournament that was completely planned and executed by corps members. We were able to unite more than 200 students from the schools we serve at the PAL complex for a day of fun, competitive soccer. It was the first time many of the students we served played soccer in a formal setting and we were thrilled to have been able to give them that experience.

With our year coming to a close, it was time for us to celebrate our accomplishments at our annual gala dinner, Starry Starry Night. This was our opportunity to bring together the community we served to share stories of our service and to garner support for the 2011 service year. We were pleased to have special guests Mike Singletary, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers  and Denise & John York, San Francisco 49ers and the 49ers Foundation come out and support us.

Corps member Romel Antoine leads the corps in reciting the City Year pledge at Starry Starry Night.

After Starry Starry Night, it was only a short time until Graduation! This year’s ceremony was held at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda. Each team was recognized for their efforts this year and were encouraged to continue serving throughout their lifetime. Special thanks goes out to Chevron, who not only sponsored graduation but also sponsored the Corps to travel to Pebble Beach to watch some practice rounds of the U.S. Open!

After an incredibly successful year of service, we look forward to welcoming our new corps and doing it all over again! If you are interested in following us throughout the year, check back here at our blog at cityyearsanjose.wordpress.com, follow us on Twitter @cityyearsanjose or join our City Year San Jose Facebook group.

– Megan Baker, Recruitment Project Leader CYSJ

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