City Year Orlando, an education-focused nonprofit dedicated to addressing a national dropout crisis, kicked off its second year of service in Orange County Public Schools with its Opening Day ceremony at Oak Ridge High School on September 20th. In 25 cities across the country, including Orlando, City Year AmeriCorps member commit a year of their lives to serve as tutors, mentors and role models to struggling students who need extra support.
As a local funding partner, Heart of Florida United Way is sponsoring a team of 10 City Year corps members at Evans High School. Additional teams are serving at Meadowbrook, Memorial and Walker Middle schools, as well as Oak Ridge High School.
Heart of Florida United Way President and CEO Robert H. (Bob) Brown, Universal Parks & Resorts’ EVP & CAO John Sprouls, Orange County Public Schools Chief of Staff Cathy Pope, Hue Jacobs from the Corporation for National and Community Service, and others joined Jordan Plante, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Orlando, and 60 City Year AmeriCorps members to kick off the service year.
During the ceremony, AmeriCorps members stood in their signature red jackets and collectively took the City Year pledge and students in attendance repeated their own pledge to come to school every day, ready to try their hardest.
A student from Memorial Middle School was asked to speak about his experience with a City Year AmeriCorps member, Marckendy Henrismon said he doesn’t feel he would have been as successful in his first year at Memorial if it wasn’t for his City Year mentor. He ended the school year with A’s in Language Arts and Math.
In the founding year (2012-2013 school year), 71.6% of students that started the academic year off track in English Language Arts and were tutored by City Year Orlando are now on track. Nearly 74% of students that started the academic year off track in Math and were tutored by City Year Orlando are now on track.
Of the teachers who had corps members performing math tutoring in their classes, 95.9% agreed or strongly agreed that corps members helped improve math performance and 100% of principals and assistant principals agreed that corps members served as positive role models for students.
City Year Orlando’s founding sponsors include Orange County Public Schools, Volunteer Florida and the Michael and Kim Ward Foundation. In addition to United Way, local City Year team sponsors include CSX, Darden Foundation, Universal Orlando Foundation and Wells Fargo. Local City Year sponsors and supporters include JPMorgan Chase, Tupperware Brands Corporation, LYNX, Florida Blue Community Fund and SunTrust Bank.