By JoAnne Sylvia ’09 & '10

When I walked into City Year Miami’s registration day on August 30, 2008, I knew that it was a special day. Not only was I starting a new job in a new city, but it was my 22nd birthday as well! Those first few weeks of training are now a blur, filled with idealism, love, tears, friendship and teamwork. I certainly had no idea that it would be the start to a seven year journey through many different cities and many different jobs within the organization. Here’s a snapshot of my career path with City Year:



Role: AmeriCorps Member serving on the Civic Engagement & Young Heroes Team

City Year Miami

My team ran weekend social justice workshops for middle school students.  We recruited 50 students from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade from around Miami-Dade to participate in the program, which meant long days visiting afterschool centers and partnering with local middle school teachers to spread the word about the opportunity. My team was also in charge of prepping and leading events for the Miami AmeriCorps  members and corporate volunteers. By making connections with local organizations we were able to build a strong foundation for City Year’s first year in the city.


Skills developed: Curriculum development, event planning and relationship-building


Role: Senior AmeriCorps Member on Team Care Force

City Year Headquarters - Boston, MA

Our team  of seven who all previously did a year of service with City Year was tasked with leading volunteer events and projects throughout the country. Our goal was to ensure that volunteers felt inspired during their day of service, and that schools and community centers were transformed into beautiful,  spaces that the community was proud of.

Skills developed: Project and volunteer management, relationship-building



Role: Summer Academy Logistics Coordinator

City Year Headquarters - Boston, MA

On the Summer Academy Team I helped plan and execute City Year’s week-long learning conference for all staff members that gather in Boston from all over the country. I was also encouraged to actively network with current staff at Headquarters and was given time to take interviews.

Skills Developed: Event planning, networking, teamwork



Role: Assistant to the President, Jim Balfanz

City Year Headquarters - Boston, MA

As an assistant, I performed administrative tasks and managed all of the logistics for Jim. I was also able to contribute to initiatives and projects and have a first-hand view  of successful nonprofit management. I used the professional network I had built at City Year Miami, Team Care Force, and on the Summer Academy team to ensure Jim’s success.

Skills: Communication, time management, project management, teamwork


October 2014 - Present

Role: Recruitment Manager, Northeast Region

I spend most days at high schools and on college campuses telling my City Year story and helping students decide if City Year is the right fit for them. My new team is spread out across four states, which has required learning new ways to collaborate with one another, either on the phone or through video conference calls.

Skills: Relationship-building, time management, teamwork, communication


In all of my roles at City Year, I’ve been able to build on the foundation of developing relationships and skills that I began back in 2008. I have grown more as a person and as a professional each year, and I am very grateful for the mentorship and support that this community has given me. My years of service set me up for success as a staff member in many important ways and I don't know if I would have found and been prepared for a job that I am this passionate about without serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member first.


If having a staff job at City Year right after college graduation is something you are considering- I would highly encourage you to start as a corps member and use your year to network and learn as much as you can about the different departments. You may find that you have hidden talents that would make you successful in a role that you would not have otherwise applied for!


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