Seven weeks ago, we all began our adventure into our City Year experience coming from all different places and backgrounds. Our Opening Day celebration was the end of City Year’s Basic Training Academy, and we officially took the pledge to be City Year AmeriCorps members for the next ten months.

The ceremony was very inspiring and reminded us of the importance of our work here in Milwaukee schools. Milwaukee Public Schools’ Acting Superintendent Darienne Driver challenged us to bring our energy, hope, ambition and creativity through our time as corps members.

Mayor Tom Barrett reminded us what a welcoming presence seeing the City Year jacket can be to students, teachers, and community members in the communities we serve. He reminded us that we will be alumni of City Year before we know it, and we will remember this City Year experience forever. We will wear our hard-earned red jackets for the rest of our lives and they will be a reminder of what we will achieve with our students. When we see someone with the same jacket, we will automatically want to compare our City Year experiences.

Being at Opening Day with my teammates made me feel united as a group that will get many things done this year. Opening Day inspired me very much for the work that I will be doing because, not being from Milwaukee, I was not aware of the need for programs like City Year and I am glad that I have the opportunity to work in this city and give back my time to such awesome students.

The advice and encouraging words we heard will help on those long days when we grow tired and do not think that we are making a difference. They will be a reminder that change does not happen in a day. And, at the end of this year while we are sitting at graduation, we can reflect on the changes that we were able to make over this year in the lives of the students who we serve.  

Written by Jasmine Brown, City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps Member serving on the David V. Uihlein Sr. Foundation Team at Rufus King International Middle School

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