City Year Orlando Deploys 50 Corps Members to Area Schools for Year of Service
In front of The Groove at Universal City Walk at 9:30 AM a group of 50 young men and women between the ages of 17 and 24, wearing red jackets emblazoned with a City Year logo, huddled in a circle chanting, preparing themselves for a year of service with the energy and enthusiasm of a football team on Friday night.
Orlando officials, including Mayor Theresa Jacobs, Mayor Buddy Dyer (by video), Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, Board Chairman Bill Sublette, and Congressman Daniel Webster joined David Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast NBC Universal, Tom Williams, President of NBC Universal, and Michael Brown, founder and CEO of City Year, to celebrate City Year Orlando’s Opening Day.
City Year Corps members will assist teachers and mentor at-risk students in five Orange County schools: Oak Ridge and Evans High Schools and Walker, Memorial, and Meadowbrook Middle Schools. “City Year is a critical component to our ongoing efforts to give every student in Orange County access to the world-class education that they deserve,” said Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer appeared on video to proclaim October 12 “City Year Orlando Day.” Mayor Dyer said, “City Year is exactly the kind of human capital we need in Orlando schools.” Corps members give a year of service in schools where their extra efforts can have a major impact on the dropout rate.
Orlando native and Corps member Stephanie Cineas talked about why she became a volunteer. “Growing up I saw friends give up on their education when all they needed was a little encouragement. I am proud to serve in my home town.”
Soloman Romero, an Oak Ridge High School sophomore, spoke about the impact City Year’s pilot program at his school last year had on his performance. He said the Corps members made sure he got to class and was prepared for his work. “They took the time to make sure I understood. I used to have low grades but now I have the confidence to work harder. City Year can help students not just learn, but succeed.”
Orlando is the 24th City Year site in the U.S. Bringing the program to Orlando required a unique public/private partnership. Founding partners include Orange County Public Schools, the Michael and Kim Ward Foundation, and Volunteer Florida, as well as team sponsors CSX, the Darden Foundation, Heart of Florida United Way, Universal Orlando Foundation, and Wells Fargo. City Year Orlando is also supported by Baker Hostetler, the Brad and Cori Melzer Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, LYNX, Suntrust, and Tupperware Brands Foundation.
Comcast NBC Universal has been a long time supporter of City Year nationally, and sponsored Opening Day at all City Year locations around the country. David Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast NBC Universal, told the 50 Corps members and the audience that the reason for their support can be summed up in two words: “Soloman Romero. Every young person in the country has the potential to succeed. Some need a little help. Your year of service will certainly help shape your own path, but as importantly, it will touch the lives of the students you work with in a profound and life-altering way.”
Cohen then asked the Corps members how they felt about their upcoming year of service. “Fired up!” they shouted back.
You can learn more about City Year at www.cityyear.org.