In the City Year Boston Civic Engagement team, we regularly partner with many organizations that help provide families with everyday resources and do community outreach. On December 10, we were honored to be a part of the Homeless Education Resource Network (HERN) community and volunteer at their Christmas event. We provided HERN with over 200 scarves and hats and 800 books for their families. When we were invited, we were beyond excited to be a part of the celebration. Usually when we make resources to support our partners, we aren’t able to experience the moment when these resources are given to their beneficiaries. This was one of those moments where we got to step out of our usual day-to-day roles and sit down and engage in conversation with the families.

Our night began with a beautiful speech by the creators of HERN on the meaning of the night—how it wasn’t about any of us, but it was about the children whom the organization served. They were the highest priority. We were given the mission to ensure that the kids were having a blast and that they left with a smile on their face, and that is exactly what we delivered. 

This night was also special to me because I was a able to see a very familiar young face. Last year, when I served in an elementary school, he was a 1st-grader. As he came over and signed in at my table, I asked him if he remembered me. With the biggest smile ever, he responded, “Of course—you're Ms. Rosa.” The night consisted of participating in a dancing battle with the kids, playing tag, and attempting to make newborns smile. It was, by far, one of my favorite events this year.    

 Service holds a special place in my heart because it gives me the opportunity to give back to my community and connect with new people on a daily basis. The power of a simple small act of kindness is often underestimated. The reason I joined City Year was to help not only families, but also youth who struggle. Coming from a background where both parents struggled to put food on the table, worked hard to provide us with resources such as gloves for the winter, and  weren’t fully able to help with understanding school material due to the fact that they struggle with the English language was more than difficult. After my experience as an immigrant child and all the obstacles I had to overcome to be where I am today, I wanted to ensure I helped those around me as much as I possibly could. Being a part of the Boston Civic Engagement gives me that opportunity. There is not one day that I’m not proud of waking up, putting on this uniform and coming to service.

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