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One America - City Year

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One America

Program: City Year
Contact(s): Alan Khazei or Michael Brown, Co-founders: (617) 927-2500
Purpose: To promote community service by tapping the civic power of young people and increasing awareness of social issues among people of different racial and social economic backgrounds
Background Program Operations Outcomes


As part of the AmeriCorps program, City Year began in 1988 to generate community service projects that break down social barriers, inspire citizens to civic action, develop new leaders for the common good, and improve and promote the concept of voluntary national service. When it was initiated, City Year was a 50-person summer pilot program; it has now grown to 900 corps members in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia, S.C., Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, San Antonio, and San Jose/Silicon Valley. City Year corps members represent a cross section of their communities. The corps includes college graduates, high school graduates and young people without high school diplomas.

Program Operations

City Year seeks to promote an active and engaged citizenry. Corps members, age 17-23 years old, participate in civic activism through community service, leadership training, volunteer opportunities and special community events. Corps members develop skills by leading citizens into service program such as the Serve-a-thon; organizing Winter and Spring Camps for public school children; and running Young Heroes-- a Saturday service corps for eighth graders-- among other programs. (The Young Heroes Program was recognized by the President's Initiative on Race as a Promising Practice.) To graduate, corps members must fulfill 1,700 hours of service, register to vote, get certified in first aid and CPR, and earn a high school diploma or equivalency degree. Upon graduation, corps members receive a scholarship award of $4,725 for further education from the Corporation for National Service.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

According to a national survey, 95 percent of corps members felt they learned leadership skills at City Year in problem solving, negotiating, planning and organizing events, crisis management and public speaking. Overall, the program has inspired today's youth to take action and become decision makers in their communities. City Year also has a website, www.city-year.org, which provides further resources and information on community efforts.

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