This is to the City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley corps of 2011/2012.
Congratulations to all of you. Thank you for your service.
As I was preparing to write this blog I came upon the realization that “Thank you” is such a trite way to express gratitude.
I can list the great accomplishments of your 2000 hours of service. The 100’s of students served, the difference you made in schools around attendance behavior and course performance. But that does not capture it all. There is “behind the scenes” work that no one sees that’s helps make this all happen.
- Preparing lesson plans after 10 hour days
- In some cases, convincing your parents to let you do this
- Stepping up when a teammate was sick
- Minimum days (which were really maximum days)
- Living on a small stipend
- Piloting programs
- Data and all the entry, analysis, adjustment of same
- Serving on committees in addition to your regular responsibilities
- Staying late, with a great attitude, until the l a s t s t u d e n t is finally picked up
- Lunch with students, spending the time to get to know them and building relationships
- Walking students home
- Working with teachers, doing meetings, tracking student progress
- Talking with parents and siblings of students and building relationships with them
- End of year events
You took time from your life and devoted it to service. Pure service that entailed you giving your absolute best ALL the time to make sure students that were total strangers 11 months ago became the reason for your being.
You’ve been trained, observed and evaluated. You rose above daunting challenges and chose not be overwhelmed by your task of giving a year and changing the world. You just did it. You put your shoulder into the grindstone and did it via your 50+ hour work week, minute by minute, line by line, math problem by math problem you did it. You changed the worlds of so many students. You worked with students who had no hope, no confidence and no investment in their own future. These same students now have goals, and aspirations. Once more, they can write about them and even figure out how to achieve them.
You chose this path perhaps for personal or professional reasons. Maybe both. All of you were challenged. Some left. But if you are a City Year San Jose / Silicon Valley graduate. You stayed.
And here you are, 53 friends who were strangers a year ago. A corps of 53 change agents. You took a chance to join City Year and change the world. And you did it. Thank you and congratulations.
Beach Pace, Executive Director CYSJ/SV