City Year Sacramento celebrated the beginning of its third year of service at its annual Opening Day ceremony, held Oct. 1 at the California State Capitol. City Year AmeriCorps members kicked off the event with an energetic parade around the Capitol, joined by members of the Sacramento Kings Royal Court Dancers.

St. Hope Public School’s interim CEO Enoch Woodhouse provided the keynote address, thanking AmeriCorps members for their commitment to helping students excel academically. This year City Year Sacramento began serving ninth graders at Sacramento Charter High School, a St. Hope School. City Year Sacramento also serves at Father Keith B. Kenny K-8 School, Fern Bacon Middle School, Leataata Floyd Elementary School, Oak Ridge Elementary School and Rosa Parks K-8.

City Year Sacramento alumna Briana Osbourne shared her experience serving in the 2013-2014 academic year. She said she began her service thinking she would drastically change student lives, but finished it realizing that the middle school students she mentored at Fern Bacon Middle School changed her life. Osbourne said her students and the challenges they faced reminded her of her personal struggles as a teenager growing up in Sacramento. “They were the ones who kept me going during the times when I wanted to quit,” she told the audience. “I knew that if they could keep coming to school despite all that they were facing at home, I, too, had to keep coming to service, to be there for them and many others.”

Current Fern Bacon team member Chad Fraga told the audience that, like many of his fellow AmeriCorps members, he didn’t have a concrete idea what he wanted to do after college, but he was drawn to City Year’s ideals, values, and mission. “I knew I wanted to be challenged, to grow as a person, and to gain life experiences that would last a life time,” Fraga said. He noted that, while AmeriCorps members have different backgrounds and experiences, all are united in City Year service to students. “When we walk through the hallways of each of our schools, we represent hope, trust, and this urge to help – regardless of how tired we are, what time it is, or who the student is,” Fraga said. “This is the exact reason why I serve with City Year. I serve to have a lasting impact on students, and an impact on myself.”

Check out photos from our Opening Day here!

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