written by Brittany Comegna, corps member on the CSX Civic Engagement Team
City Year Washington DC has 14 teams dedicated to in-school service, but not everyone knows about our 15th team. I proudly serve as part of the CSX Civic Engagement team which aims to create powerful transformative physical service projects in the areas and places DCPS students frequent. Here at City Year Washington DC, we view Civic Engagement as a vehicle to link City Year to members of the community that may not have a direct link to the District of Columbia Public Schools System where most of our Corps Members spend their service.
Members of our Civic Engagement or CE team travel to different parts of the DC to mobilize the community into becoming involved with our initiatives. In September, we designed a day long service project for AARP at the Winston Education Campus in Southeast DC. One of the projects required using eight 18 in. by 24 in. painting canvases. To acquire said supplies, I made several phone calls before finally connecting with an art store, Utrecht. The manager was very warm, she told me to make an appearance whenever was convenient for me during their business hours to pick up the canvases – free of charge.
This year we have done five service projects so far, including our biggest service day on MLK Day, with over 850 volunteers (you can check out Matt’s awesome photos from that day here). We still have five service days left with the potential to engage 2,400 volunteers throughout our service year.
Even though I don’t serve in a classroom, I know my work is still impacting students. To this day, Corps Members who serve at Winston still have fresh stories about students who love the canvases so much, they attempt to snag one without drawing notice.
There are people like those on the CE team who seek a challenge in a less structured work environment as each day brings with it unexpected surprises. Here at City Year Washington DC, there is a place for all individuals with varying skill sets. Take it from someone who knows – an impact achieved through transformative service is just as rewarding as serving on a school-based team.
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