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City Year donates 24K hours to improve school attendance in Columbus

Many Ohio State alumni take pride in wearing red even after graduation.
The red jacket worn by members of City Year, a nonprofit organization focused on keeping kids in school, has become a symbol within the organization. The majority of the 35 City Year Columbus members who wear those red jackets are OSU alumni.
City Year is a national organization founded in Boston in 1988 that tries to keep students on track to graduate. It sends corps members to schools that have lower graduation rates to assist staff and work with children, said Steve Stevenson, director of recruitment and admissions at City Year in Columbus.
City Year members put in a minimum of 10 months of service within the organization. Last year, City Year Columbus corps members completed 24,400 hours of service and helped improve Columbus students’ attendance rates and raw literacy scores, among other improvements, according to the City Year website.
Kate Sweeney, an OSU alumni and City Year team leader, worked with City Year before attending graduate school.
“Along with our connections with our students, I’ve been lucky enough to make some really great connections with staff at the school I serve,” Sweeney said. “I’ve been working with one of the social workers a lot, and she’s guided me and that’s what I’m going to go to grad school for.
“Without even realizing it, I was developing this whole interest in social work.”
City Year focuses on the schools in which its members serve and on helping OSU alumni corps members continue on their own personal paths, Sweeney said.
Juan Mosquera, a recent OSU grad and corps member, said City Year has prepared him to enter any workplace and take on a leadership role.
“I didn’t think there was going to be so much focus on inter-development of leadership,” Mosquera said. “I feel like it’s such a great transition to whatever you’re going to do in life.”
OSU is nationally ranked No. 9 on the list of top 25 schools where most City Year corps members have graduated. Current students can also be involved.
Megan Hoying, a third-year in communication, interns with City Year Columbus and said OSU has similar values to the organization.
“OSU focuses on giving back, and I feel like City Year helps future generations have the same opportunities we’ve had,” Hoying said.
OSU alumna Hope Hill said she was a resident adviser on campus and strived to provide excellent service to her residents, which prepared her for her current position as a corps member.
“I kinda fell in love with the organization and the idea of spending more time with students and giving back to the community,” Hill said. “I wanted to give back to a city that has given me so much.”
Those that wear the City Year jackets join President Barack Obama and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who have also been honored with the iconic red jackets for the work they have put in with City Year, Stevenson said.

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