"Why I Serve": MLK Day 2019

A bell rings signaling the five-minute warning. For the 1,300 students trickling into class, it’s just another day, but for our 75 AmeriCorps members, it’s another chance to make a difference. At Colorado Youth for a Change, we constantly analyze our data and share stories of student success, but we don’t often write about the individuals on the other side of this equation. Over the course of the 2018-2019 year, Colorado Youth for a Change AmeriCorps members will accumulate over 88,544 hours serving communities across Colorado. On this MLK Day, a day dedicated to service, we wanted to highlight those who devote every day to serving. 

Take a closer look at why these individuals have dedicated a year, or in some cases their entire lives, to serving others. 

Q: What does the word service mean to you? 

“Service is about being willing to step out into the world and ask ‘How can I improve lives?’ I think that it really boils down to how you want to affect the world around you.” – Amy 

“No matter the act, I believe service means helping others without expecting anything in return. You are helping others work towards a goal that they likely would not be able to achieve on their own.” – Mandi 

“It's going out of your way to do something for someone or a group of people who may not be able to do those particular things on their own. Working in a school environment has made me realize that these kids may not have someone who can give them the precious gift of reading on a daily basis, so it has made me appreciate this idea of ‘service’ even more” – Hannah 


Q: Why did you choose to serve? 

“It was important for me to ‘pay forward’ the incredibly positive experience I had in high school where my teachers cared about me as a person and not just a test score. I would not have been nearly as successful if not for the teachers who saw me for who I was and who I wanted to be. I know that not every student has someone who pushes them to pursue their dreams but I think every student deserves to have an adult who encourages and believes in them”.  – Collette 

“I serve because I have a sincere passion for K-5 students and literacy. Reading was a struggle for me and I think it good for students to know that adults also need help.” – Lyn


How did you choose the CYC Reading Corps or Corps for a Change program?

"My mom would read with my brother, sister, and I in a recliner in our old living room. She loved reading Jan Brett books to us, like “The Mitten and the Hat” or“Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. I chose Colorado Reading Corps because I wanted to pass down the love for reading my mother instilled in me to other children." – Sarabeth 

“I serve because I believe in the strength and power of youth voices. I felt that a service term through CYC would provide me with the opportunity to empower young people to grow as compassionate individuals who are committed to making change in their communities.” – Collette 

“CYC works to prevent youth from facing future economic, social, and emotional hardships that they would likely face without graduating from high school. I feel that CYC’s mission aligns with my personal one, to help youth reach their fullest potential and become their truest selves.” – Mandi


Like Doctor King himself once said, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”