Jack Haymes, 19, contributes to the mission of City Year through service at Shaw Middle School in West Philadelphia.
Some may have encountered a group of people in the red jackets in downtown Philly, painting murals and hanging out with children. Those red jackets symbolize City Year, and those people are making big changes in the lives of kids across Philadelphia each day.
City Year is a gap-year program, founded in 1997, for high school graduates. It gives young adults the opportunity to reach out and impact the lives of the many underprivileged children in the greater Philadelphia area.
City Year team members spend a year between high school and college or undergraduate and graduate school, giving back to their community before continuing on their path to adulthood. The corps members tutor and mentor school-aged children both during and after school to give them individualized attention and inspire them to achieve beyond their expectations.
This year, serving among the 230 corps members is 19-year-old Jack Haymes. Haymes and his team of six other corps members serve every day at Shaw Middle School, a middle school in West Philadelphia.
“I am in a special education class. I’m in with seventh and eighth graders. I work in one class all day,” Haymes said. “I’m like a learning support guy. I go up to the kids and make sure they’re doing their work and they’re awake. I’m responsible for keeping them on track, because they’re so far behind.”
“Most of them are at a third grade reading level,” Haymes added. “They’re smart kids. They just need a little extra help.”
Outside the classroom, City Year corps members are still serving.
“We have service days when we do things like pick up leaves and paint murals – things to make the school and the community more beautiful so the kids can learn,” Haymes said. “[Martin Luther King, Jr.] Day is our biggest service day. We painted so many murals that day.”
Whether it’s inside the classroom or out in the community, City Year Corps members are changing lives and shaping the future of Philadelphia by sacrificing their time for kids who need it.
Sarah Elizabeth Guy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.