(Please watch the video above before reading the letter below - thank you)
Dear City Year 2009-2010 Corps Members:
I believe in all of you.
I believe in the power of bringing young people together to bring about positive change in communities, and I believe that each of you has the ability to persevere and make your City Year a truly memorable experience. I believe in the many talents that all of you possess, and I know that each of those talents will, in some way, be a driving force for change not only within the communities in which you will serve, but within yourselves.
You will embark on an amazing journey — a journey that your friends and family probably will never really understand. Having experienced my own City Year in Washington, D.C., I am excited for each of you. You don’t know it yet, but you’re well on your way to becoming great civic leaders. Some of you will be in classrooms, while others may be “in the field,” while others may be “holding down the fort” in the office. No matter what your role, always remember that you are making a difference. It may not be apparent initially, but know that some of the greatest moments in the history of the United States didn’t happen overnight. Your patience will be tested, but rest assured that your efforts will not go unnoticed. You are the change agents of your communities, and you have been given the honor to give a year and change the world. You have the ability to empower others. I believe in you.
Set high standards for yourself and your fellow corps members. It’s easy to get complacent and “go through the motions,” but I know each of you has it in you to do great things. It was the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” Don’t sell yourself short because I’m counting on you to help your communities. I believe in you.
Believe in each other and help one another throughout your City Year. You will spend more time with your fellow corps members than your friends and family, and you owe it to yourself to celebrate the differences in people. Your fellow corps members will be the shoulder you cry on, your wake-up call for those early morning PT sessions, and they’ll be your best friends. Treat each other with respect and no matter how much someone annoys you, always remember to treat everyone as if they are the most important person in the world.
Wear that red jacket with pride because believe it or not, for the next year, your name will be on your back in black letters. You are now City Year, and you are now the idealists who will create change for the rest of your lives. You are role models, you are AmeriCorps members, and you are truly amazing people. Consider me your personal cheerleader whenever you need it because I believe in you.
Welcome to the family!
Yours in service,
City Year Washington, D.C. Alum 2004-2005
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