City Year Detroit last week hosted its annual Opening Day Celebration at Campus Martius Park to officially commence the 2017-2018 school year and year of service for its 71 new AmeriCorps members. The program featured the recitation of AmeriCorps and City Year pledges as well as remarks from Andrew Stein, executive director of City Year Detroit, Chris Uhl, vice president of strategic investments for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, Lisa Howze, chief government affairs officer of the City of Detroit and Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent. Additional speakers included representatives from Comcast NBCUniversal and the DPSCD Board of Education.
“Opening Day is one of the most important milestones for our corps members. This celebration means so much to our team at City Year Detroit as we get to witness the incredible service of some of our country’s brightest and best young adults,” said Andrew Stein, executive director, City Year Detroit. “It is the moment in which they commit to the year of service and to the students they will serve. These corps members will spend hundreds of hours over the course of the school year providing academic, social and emotional support to nearly 5,000 students and their teachers across the seven DPSCD schools with which we partner; it is a remarkable commitment that we are proud to showcase.”
This year’s Opening Day also marked the announcement of a $700,000 investment from Quicken Loans, the single largest private sector gift City Year Detroit has received to date. The significant contribution will be used to support City Year Detroit’s program expansion by increasing the number of corps members and resources in classrooms throughout Detroit, particularly those in the city’s Cody Rouge neighborhood.
“Quicken Loans is heavily focused on enriching the learning experience for Detroit Public Schools students by providing resources as well as program creation and execution,” said Chris Uhl, vice president of strategic investments, Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund. “The City Year team is very inspirational, and we’re excited to partner with an organization that shares our passion in helping these students reach their maximum potential.”
Dr. Nikolai Vitti was encouraged by the enthusiasm of this year’s 71 corps members and cited the importance of the City Year Detroit-DPSCD partnership. He reminded the incoming group that there will undoubtedly be challenging days, but that remaining committed to the work is critical.
“Having been a longtime supporter of City Year in the districts in which I’ve worked, I knew our work would move much faster with their presence already here in Detroit,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD superintendent. “Corps members support the development of the whole child while strategically lessening the load on principals and teachers to move students to college and work ready expectations.”
City Year Detroit’s “Whole School, Whole Child” model is aimed at reducing high school dropout rates by improving attendance, behavior and performance in English and math courses. To learn more about the work City Year is doing and opportunities to get involved, visit www.cityyear.org/Detroit.
In over 300 schools in 28 cities nationwide, City Year supports students, teachers and schools by providing the “people power” to effectively meet each student’s academic and social-emotional needs. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in schools alongside teachers, establishing developmental relationships with students and providing research-based interventions to help students and schools succeed. Our AmeriCorps members partner with teachers and principals to increase academic achievement and student engagement, while enabling schools to create learning environments that are responsive to students’ unique needs. Through direct support in the classroom, City Year AmeriCorps members bring additional capacity to help differentiate instruction and meet the needs of the whole class. At a school-wide level, City Year partners with administrators to provide whole school enrichment activities to improve climate and foster student engagement.