By, Samuel T. Bias, City Year Philadelphia ’16, Temple University ’15
Service has always been a big part of my life. My mother was very persistent in making sure that I was always involved in the community, and I got great pleasure from making a positive impact in the lives of others. Service made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. It gave me a sense of purpose.
While studying at Temple I had the privilege of being a part of Temple Student Government, which played a crucial role in my development, not only as a scholar, but also as a leader and advocate for students. I had the honor of working with and learning from amazing people like Dr. Stephanie Ives, Dean of Students; Captain Eileen Bradley, Head of Campus Safety; Chris Carey, Director of Student Activities; and many others.
As a senior at Temple, I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what I wanted to do after I graduated. To be quite honest, I had absolutely no idea at all. One thing I did know however, was that I wanted to do something that made me happy and gave me purpose.
City Year has been a true blessing for me. I first heard about it through my roommate, who said it looked like something I would be interested in. I remember looking at the website and reading the statistics about their research-based educational model and its effectiveness. At that point I realized I needed to become my own message. In other words, I needed to be the change I wanted to see.
City Year has given me the ability to make a difference in the lives of high school students who need more support and attention than what is currently available to them. Essentially, Temple gave me all the tools I needed and City Year taught me how to use them. I was first exposed to the issues demeaning the educational system during my time at Temple through outstanding professors like Professor Scott Gratson and Professor Dale Wilcox. Still, City Year has really helped me understand how to tangibly make a positive impact in the lives of students who take the bulk of the backlash from budget and resource deductions to their schools.
City Year also provides a great culture for developing leadership skills. City Year pushes you to open up and get out of your comfort zone but also teach you how to make a comfortable environment for others to do the same. The people I serve with come from all different backgrounds with all different talents. Each person has a different story of how they got to the point of dedicating a year to service but they all serve for one purpose: to #MakeBetterHappen. It is a truly incredible and humbling movement to be a part of.