ServiceWorks Welcomes Newest Members at Swearing In Ceremony
By Loren Kranz, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Citi Retail Services August 03, 2015 02:30 PM
The 2015-2016 cohort of AmeriCorps VISTAs with Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Tracy Hoover, President of Points of Light, Rosemary Byrnes, Senior Program Officer, Citi Foundation, and Loren Kranz, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Citi Retail Services
After working as a juvenile correctional officer, Warren Jones knew he wanted to do more to reach at-risk youth and help them make positive decisions that would help lead to positive futures. “Youth at the facility saw staff as the enemy,” he said. That’s why Warren joined ServiceWorks as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. He officially took his oath of service on July 24th. Warren sees his time with ServiceWorks as an entry point to instill that positive influence. “I want to have a lasting impact on young people in need of positive role models,” Warren added. He will work at City Square in Dallas with youth to help them learn the skills they need to chart a path towards their goals.
Through ServiceWorks, the nation’s largest corporate-sponsored AmeriCorps VISTA program, VISTA members like Warren help 16-24 year olds brighten both the future of their communities and their paths to career success. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum dedicated to social change movements, served as a fitting location to welcome the 75 new VISTA members in front of over 150 guests. Staff from Citi’s offices in Atlanta, including myself, attended to show support for the program – after all, service is a big part of our community - and to welcome everyone to our hometown. We were all honored to represent Citi and inspired to see so many young people wanting to dedicate a year of their lives to making a difference in the lives of others.
Launched in March 2014, ServiceWorks is a key component of the Citi Foundation’s three-year, $50 million Pathways to Progress campaign to improve career readiness and opportunities for 100,000 low-income youth. The program was co-developed and implemented by Points of Light, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Citi Foundation.
Each AmeriCorps VISTA works closely with the program’s youth scholars to provide training in critical 21st century leadership and workplace skills. The youth then put their new skills to work by participating in and leading volunteer service projects. A total of 225 AmeriCorps members over three years will engage 25,000 underserved young adults in 10 U.S. cities.
When Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, led the VISTA members in the AmeriCorps oath, their sense of pride and purpose was palpable.
“I want to interrupt the cycle of poverty,” shared Anjelais Diaz, a new VISTA member at New York City host site, The Door, which provides services such as tutoring and housing. “I know programs like ServiceWorks are effective at this because I grew up in poverty and was lucky enough to have access to skills workshops, mentorship, and service opportunities that helped me become the first in my family to graduate from college. I’m excited for the opportunity to pay it forward to more young people.”
Anjelais plans to pursue a career as an educator or guidance counselor. She and others in her cohort look forward to the professional network and skills they will acquire as VISTA members to be “agents of change.” After the ceremony, the newly-sworn VISTA members deployed across the country to their respective 10 cities, where they will inspire progress and promote opportunities for the next year.