I recently went to visit Milwaukee, WI to see my good friend and fellow City Year San José/Silicon Valley Alumni Jake Drollinger. Jake is currently the Recruitment and Alumni Affairs Manager for City Year Milwaukee and is in his second year with the site. This is their founding corps year and I had the pleasure to be part of the Visitor’s Program at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School. The City Year corps members at this school are led by another City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley alum Will Reichardt. My cousin Rachel Ramirez is a first year corps member serving on his team where she leads a seventh grade classroom after school.
The City Year program at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School is partnered up with Boys and Girls Club who has been with the school for years. Together, they make a really cool after-school program where much of the enrichment intrigues the students’ minds. Jerrion Shell and Angela Bolmes, also first year corps members, led the tour of the four-story school as they told me the history and what they do at Alexander Mitchell. I also got the chance to ask them why did they choose to serve as they asked me why I worked with City Year three years; both Jerrion and Angela want to work as senior corps members after this year.
The morning after, I went with Jake to see the one of the best unity rallies I’ve ever seen. From their readiness check, to physical training, reading of the Daily Briefing, and final team circles, it was all on point. They were loud, energetic and ready to serve! It brought me great joy to see such a young, wonderful, and compassionate group ready to serve their community.
Interestingly enough, Milwaukee’s founding corps reminds me of why I served and why I continue to serve the community I live in. They reminded me of my corps year; the excitement, the friendships we built, the struggles, the frustrations, the warmth, the smiles, and most importantly, the service.
The great thing about City Year, no matter what city, no matter how different the site looks, the mindset is always the same: we want to do GOOD, we want to be the DIFFERENCE, and we want to SERVE with SPIRIT, DISCIPLINE, PURPOSE, and PRIDE. Just hearing those four words being shouted out proudly during PT astounded me; and it astounds the communities of Milwaukee, San José, New York, Boston and everywhere else City Year serves.
Jeff Tibayan, 2006-2009 Alum CYSJ