On November 4, 2011 City Year Boston started its Friday off at the Tobin K-8 School in Roxbury, rather than at Copley Square as usual, to perform Physical Training (PT) for the school. The weather outside had a crisp chill to it, but student response to the morning’s event was still one of excitement and anticipation. Afterwards, a group of students recited the Tobin School pledge and even eagerly joined in for the final spirit break at the end.
Following PT, the entire corps walked over to the nearby Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at the Roxbury Community College for AmeriCorps Opening Day. The event brings together all participants in AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA programs in Massachusetts to celebrate their work across the state. This year, over 2,000 AmeriCorps members will perform countless hours of service at over 80 programs throughout the Commonwealth. As a result of this dedication, thousands of children and adults will receive tutoring, mentoring, healthcare, legal assistance, affordable housing, and much more. Through service, participants take on challenging responsibilities, learn new skills, and join a national network of people committed to service.
The ceremony began with the national anthem sung by AmeriCorps member Sarah Wilson, a Tenacity program participant, followed by a warm welcome by Larry Bailis, the Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Service Alliance. In addition, Mayor Menino spoke of the importance of service, volunteerism, and creating partnerships in Massachusetts to maximize resources, capacity, and impact. The ceremony’s keynote speaker was none other than Kevin Andrews, headmaster at the Neighborhood House Charter School, who gave a shout out to City Year Boston‘s Westfield Capital Management Team, which proudly serves at his school.
Inspiring performances from AmeriCorps members such as UTEC (United Teen Equality Center) were energizing to watch, and later on, short presentations were also given by various AmeriCorps organizations.
Overall, this year’s AmeriCorps Opening Day was a success in strengthening a state-wide network of high quality service and volunteer programs, and in creating alliances between private, public, and non-profit organizations throughout Massachusetts.