This week, in honor of our Opening Day on Friday, we will share stories from corps members, senior corps and staff about what drives us to pledge a year of service to the city of San José. Today Attendance and Behavior Project Leader Jeff Sierra shares his bomber dedication.
At the end of Basic Training Academy corps members earn the right to wear their yellow jackets or “bombers.” Corps members dedicate their year of service to a tangible object (e.g. the yellow bomber) and staff members reaffirm their dedication to service on this day as well.
In doing this we ensure that every time we put on our jackets we have a physical reminder of why we serve.
In my opinion it is one of City Year’s most moving ceremonies.
This is my second year as a corps member but my first year with City Year San José. As I think about the upcoming dedication ceremony on Friday, I reflect on last year’s ceremony. I remember the room was heavy with emotion. We as corps members pledged our bombers and our year of service to someone or something.
I remember how I felt as I spoke my words of dedication. I knew deep down in my heart that no matter how tough things got during the year I would finish my year of service.
As I think about the upcoming ceremony I am focused. I know who I will be dedicating my year of service to. I know I will literally be wearing my dedication on my back as I march into service, an idealistic soldier armed with love and compassion. This gives me the quiet strength and peace to know that for the next ten months I will be working to improve our students’ lives.
City Year has a saying, “This is hard; be strong.” Service IS hard. Often times it is uncomfortable. This is why I am dedicating this service year to my team from last year. As a team we struggled together, we laughed and learned together, and as the year drew to a close we could all say we grew together.
My experience with my team taught me many lessons, the most important one being the idea of losing yourself in your service.
To give 110% because our time is limited and we most not waste a single day.
City Year has also taught me that service is an honor and a privilege. That is why I am also dedicating my year to a little boy who gave me a tough time for nine out of the ten months that I knew him.
He taught me that if you give a child a clean slate everyday you will show him or her that positivity and compassion are tools that can chisel through even the hardest rock of negativity and intolerance. If you do this students will know you always have their backs, and amazing growth can happen.
-Jeffrey Sierra, Attendance and Behavior Project Leader CYSJ