Building witnesses and champions

On one Thursday of each month, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley Executive Director Beach Pace will write a featured blog post.

This month,  Beach discusses the importance of building witnesses and champions for City Year and invites you to attend our annual fundraiser gala.

There is a group of sayings at City Year called “PITW’s”. The acronym stands for “Putting Idealism to Work.”  This grouping consists of 182 thoughts that we reference throughout the year. They are applicable to our work and remind us of how or why we could approach our service. In a way, you could consider a PITW a modern proverb.

PITW #104: City Year is built by Witnesses and Champions is where I’ll start my blog for this month.

A witness is someone who has been affected by the work City Year does (a student, a corps member’s parent, etc.). A champion is someone who acts on behalf of City Year and places their personal resources and credibility behind moving City Year forward.

As part of the focus visit, Michael Brown spoke at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University.

I just completed a three day intensive meeting series in San Francisco, San Jose and points in between to bring more witnesses and champions to City Year.  The meetings were inspiring, exciting and sometimes challenging; but all of them helped forward the message of the work that we do. As I went through the meetings, I realized that I was not only a champion of City Year but also a witness.

As I heard corps members talk to potential investors, school administrators and community members, I was reminded of how personal our work is. I’ve known it’s critical and I know what a difference it can make to the life of even just one student, but this week it hit me hard… again.

As I heard City Year CEO and Co-Founder Michael Brown give a speech I’ve heard many times, I was reminded of the amazing leaders for whom I work. As I looked to my right and left I also appreciated the amazing staff and corps with whom I work.

I was given the gift of “re-appreciating” all we do by stepping out of the myopic monotony of day to day functions. I emerged from this 3 day 15 meeting marathon more invigorated and inspired.

Senior Corps Member Romel Antoine leads the corps in reciting the City Year pledge at the 2010 Starry Starry Night gala.

There is another opportunity for City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley to build witnesses and champions next month.

On Thursday May 19th, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley will gather the corps to celebrate its year of service with community members and leaders.

During the event, corps members will share their energy and talk about their work, students and administrators will share their experience, and I will share our impact. It’s a moment to pause and reflect, appreciate and energize. It’s a time to inform others about the great work of our Corps and re-inspire the community to continue their support of City Year.

Please join us on May 19th for City Year’s annual dinner Starry Starry Night to witness our work and maybe you too will turn into a City Year champion.


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