City Year, a parent’s perspective

In light of City Year Columbus’s Parents Friends and Family Weekend, this article is written About City Year from a parent’s perspective. Jeff and Judi are parents of City Year Cleveland Alum, Kate League, and current City Year Columbus Senior Corps Member, Jeff League.

When our son Jeff asked us to write about City Year from a parent’s point of view, we thought back to the year 2006.  It was then that our daughter, Kate, told us that she wanted to join City Year Cleveland.  Once we learned what the program was about, we realized it would be a perfect fit for Kate. Newly graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and fresh from suburbia, Kate has always had a wide streak of altruism.

So when Jeff told us that he wanted to be a part of City Year Columbus after graduating from Ohio State, we were very pleased and proud. Jeff, too, has a strong social conscience and enjoys service work. As with his sister, we knew City Year would be a good place for him.

As parents, you try to instill a sense of values in your children as they grow up.  City Year has done nothing but reinforce these values in our kids.  There are many lessons to be learned during a year of service……here are a few:

There is more to life and to personal satisfaction than graduating, getting a well-paying job and making a great deal of money. City Year is all about hard work. There is physical labor like building a playground in Columbus or building houses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  There is also a great deal of mental and emotional work.  Kate and Jeff worked in schools in the inner-city with students who needed some extra help.  While this proved challenging to both of them, the intrinsic rewards they felt seeing their students achieve success were much more than they anticipated.

A very positive result of their experience with City Year was their exposure to cultural diversity, something that you don’t always find in the suburbs. It gave them a wider perspective and an appreciation for all cultures. Their lives have been immeasurably enriched by, not only the other corps members, but also the children and school personnel with whom they have worked.

Our children grew in many positive ways because of their City Year experience.  Learning to budget time and managing money were two skills they acquired that will benefit them their whole life.  Working a long City Year day included tutoring students, supervising recess, after school programs and field trips and helped prepare them for life after City Year.

While attending City Year functions, we often heard corps members say they wanted to give back.  City Year provides many opportunities to do this.  Our kids have learned that one person can make a difference.   We are grateful for the experiences that City Year has afforded them and are very proud of our kids.