This year at our annual Idealism in Action event, Michael Stevens, Program Director; Frank Cervarich, Team Leader of the CSX Team serving at Malcolm X Elementary School; Jacqueline Bensing, corps member serving at Spingarn High School; and Jessica Smith, corps member serving on the Serve DC team at Johnson Middle School, performed the following spoken word poem together. These individuals took their shared service and created a moving and inspirational testament to what City Year does for those being served and to those who are serving.
In a world full of despair,
It takes great courage to dare.
To give when few would share
And to live when many wouldn’t care
Yet there stand those who would give their all
To serve without question
Helping children learn to stand tall
And uniting people across all social sections
But who you ask who I speak of
That in their hearts have so much love
If you said City Year corps members you’d be right
Red-Jacketed heroes, idealism’s keeper
But ladies and gentlemen, tonight
They’re simply known as the believers
in the power of a voice to move mountains, the power of words
To smash the walls of society, and crumble the cacophony of cynicism.
I believe in toppling the status quo. and celebrating the small successes of my kindergarteners.
I believe that Keith Jones will become a strong black man,
Breaking through bigoted barriers
Brought forth by a blind system
That would bend over backwards to bring in an extra dollar,
But ignore the chance for change.
I believe in tapping into the heart, soul and mind through creative outlets like dance, art and rhyme.
Believing in a young girl with more problems at home than the ones that align her math worksheet.
It seems so hard to the world who turned their back on a 13-year-old girl.
Do you believe?
I believe that a torrent of words can cause waves of action, sweeping across the shores of complacency and shaping them anew.
I believe in the explosive power of hope to shatter the shackles that bind the mind.
I believe in every person’s ability
To promote positive change.
I believe I have the power
To positively promote underprivileged youth to a placement
Beyond what the populous projected for them.
I believe in being teachers, sisters, brothers, mentors and tutors, educational suitors matchmaking our students to their once lost potential.
Nothing like the fire that unites us instead of divides us as we stand classroom attentive in red jackets.
Diminishing dark thoughts of inferiority, lack of respect for authority, we are sometimes more to them than they are to themselves.
Do you believe?
We believe that love is an unstoppable force.
In the face of a perilous chasm, and a treacherous tide of despair.
We do not believe in the persistent whispers that call for us to surrender.
I believe I can make the world a better place
By placating Barry when he gets too loud,
And promising Vera I’ll be there when she needs help.
By provoking Keno to become a better man,
And providing Aisha guidance when she feels lost.
By permitting Rosheeda to feel good when she succeeds, while others would put her down for her success.
I believe I can make a difference, because I have.
Believe that we made a difference this year.
We are an army of idealists united on a relentless campaign, charging through the city, fighting for those with no voice.
We believe in the battle for a better tomorrow.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe in the unbelievable, delivering the undeliverable that to many who don’t understand what I do is inconceivable.
Marching to the beat of my own drum AmeriCorps members getting things done.
Who will lose 9 times out of 10 and glorify the one won
Why it’s the believers…
They believe they can reach the unreachable
They believe they can teach the unteachable
They believe in the inconceivable
They believe in the unbelievable
And they do it with energy never before heard,
All by sharing two little words