National Service

Five Things Friday

This is a new series I’m doing on my blog inspired by City Year New York’s blog. It’s called Five Things Friday and it means that every Friday I am going to write about five things that have either directly happened in my life, I’ve found interesting on the news, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing because hey, it’s my damn blog so I can do what I want!

Here goes…

1. Apple Cares

So I’ve been having issues with my Mac just shutting off on me and it has been stressing me out a lot because I’ve been working on a couple important projects for work. Since I have Apple Care, I took it into the Apple store for a date with a barista on Valentine’s Day. While my battery didn’t “qualify” for a free replacement, the (super awesome) barista decided to replace it anyway. Not only that, but they replaced my keyboard because there was a chip in it due to a design flaw. And they did it all in about 20 minutes. Best Valentine’s Day present ever.

2. No Hot Water, I Cry

We haven’t had hot water at my apartment complex since Saturday. I never knew how much not having access to hot water would affect me emotionally. I literally broke down and cried when I got home last night and not only didn’t have hot water, but not even the cold water would work in the shower. I haven’t showered in a few days and it is really getting to me. I honestly can’t take it anymore. Thankfully they are supposed to replace the boiler today. If they don’t, I’m seriously going to freak out.

3. AmeriCorps Funding Threat

As most of you know, I have been an AmeriCorps member since I graduated from college. The experiences I have had serving in AmeriCorps has forever changed my life.  Unfortunately, the Republican party is proposing to slash AmeriCorps from the budget. I encourage you to read this article about why AmeriCorps deserves to be saved. If you agree, please sign this petition and help keep this incredible program going strong.

4. Lil Kim’s Tasteless Album Cover

I don’t really understand the beef between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj but it is getting a little out of hand for my taste. First there were songs about them pissing on each other and now Lil Kim’s album cover is an artistic rendering of her murdering Minaj, complete with a dead body and a pink haired head that is clearly detached from the body. I don’t even want to honor it by putting it on my blog, but you can see it if you click the link above. She’s going way above and beyond to try to stay relevant. Sorry Lil Kim, you had your time to shine. Stop trying to relive your glory days by tearing other people down.

5. 2011 State of the City Address

Last night I attended San José Mayor Chuck Reed’s State of the City Address. While the radio personalities who were emceeing the event were painfully lame, the Mayor’s speech really hit home. In San José we have a real problem with the high costs of pension plans for city employees (particularly fire fighters and police officers). While it is highly unpopular with the unions, Reed is determined to do a fiscal overhaul of the pension plan system, which will help balance the budget and will make it so the city doesn’t have to continue cutting much needed services. While he didn’t address the recent spike in gang murders, it was an informative and inspirational speech and I trust that he will do what is best for San José.

Hope you enjoyed the first edition of Five Things Friday! Let me know what you think!

Taking the pledge to serve

On Friday, Oct. 1, 20 City Year sites all across the country celebrated the kick off to the service year with the City Year Opening Day. Sponsored nationally by Comcast, Opening Day is a time for 1,750 young adults across the network to take the City Year pledge and officially declare their dedication to the community they will serve for the next 10 months.

At City Year San José/Silicon Valley, our 56 corps members will serve 2,700 students in five schools in the Alum Rock School District. While not all of us work directly with students in schools everyday (myself included) all of the work that we do is driving us towards the ultimate goal of keeping our kids in school and on track to graduate.

It is a really awesome opportunity to celebrate the kick off to our service year with our team sponsors, community members, service partners, and of course, friends, alums and family of City Year.

As part of this year’s ceremony, each team had a representative share their “Why We Serve” statement. As a member of the senior corps team, I had the unique opportunity to share the same mission statement with 12 other people that I have had the pleasure of serving with for some time now. While we all serve pretty different roles in our service this year, we were able to come around a mission statement that we all felt deeply connected to.

We serve because the legacy of service does not end with those who served before us. We serve to be role models, leaders and champions of the corps both old, new and yet to come. For the communities, the schools and the students that have been served in the past and will be served in the future. We pledge to empower the corps who serve them today.

As part of our Opening Day, we not only publicly shared why our team serves, but we had the opportunity to come together as a corps to dedicate our yellow jackets to a person or idea that inspires us each to go into service and give our all everyday. This year I dedicated my jacket to my grandmother and to all of the corps members who I will be recruiting to serve our kids next year.

The major reason I came back to City Year was to have the chance to spread the word about City Year to as many young people as possible. City Year has really changed my perspective on life and has helped me grow as a leader and as a person. I truly cannot imagine my life without being involved in service and believe that City Year has catapulted me into a lifetime of serving others.

If you or someone you know are interested in City Year, please feel free to contact me at mebaker10@cityyear.org. If you want more information, check out the website, friend City Year on Facebook, or follow headquarters or City Year San José on Twitter. Young people can make a difference and ultimately, change the world. Why not do it with City Year?