Speaking to City Year Boston board member and longtime supporter Brooke Muggia, two things become clear: Muggia’s involvement with City Year has deeply impacted her life and she wants everyone to be fired up about City Year Buffalo, City Year's 29th U.S. site, which launched in September 2018.
Muggia is co-founder of ProjectME, an organization that helps young people foster self-discovery and navigate stress so that they can live a more mindful and authentic life. She recently shared her reflections about bringing the organization she cares about so much to her hometown.
How did you first get involved with City Year?
When I moved to Boston and started raising my family, I was looking for ways that we, as a family, could get involved in our community. Twenty years ago, there were fewer ways to get involved and have an impact. It just wasn't easy back then. One Saturday afternoon, I put the kids in the car and drove through Boston with my husband. We came upon a school yard that was cranking Family Affair by Mary J. Blige and I said, “Oh, wow! This looks like Buffalo. We need to pull over.” There were people smiling, plenty of food and I saw a bunch of red jackets. (City Year Senior Vice President and Dean) Charlie Rose actually came out to greet us. We asked him how to get involved, and he had all these foam paint brushes. My husband and I, with our two babies on our backs, jumped in and we got to work that afternoon with a group of inspiring City Year AmeriCorps members.
AmeriCorps members are what pushed me to think about what we really want for our country. They symbolize what America should really be all about. In the subsequent weeks, I was fortunate enough to meet the senior staff and the administration of City Year, and they reflected the incredible energy and positivity of the corps. There was no going back. We were in!
What is your favorite thing about serving on the City Year Boston board?
Community, for sure. I was just in a board meeting last week, and one of the activities was to reach out, find somebody around the table who you did not know well and find what you had in common with each other – because we have more commonalities than differences.
These small activities are always challenging us to be better – to be better in our personal and professional lives, to lead with self-reflection and to take action steps. Getting involved, trying to make a difference and make the world a better place, that’s what it’s all about!
Why have you worked to bring City Year to Buffalo?
Buffalo needs City Year, and City Year needs Buffalo. It's not every day that you find two like-minded communities that are so evenly matched. Buffalo has a desire to be better. It is a community of hardworking, kind and supportive people. The youth of Buffalo are so unstoppable, as are City Year AmeriCorps members. The community mindset is a very grassroots approach. They get the job done and they don’t take no for an answer.
Buffalonians are scrappy and there's no stopping them when it comes to committing to their brothers and sisters. Buffalonians innovate, they’re creative speakers and critical thinkers and they make things happen. I admire their tenacity and determination and City Year is the same way.
How does your work with Project Me correlate and or inform your work with City Year?
Both Project Me and City Year really an invite people to connect with their deepest sense of purpose. They both help people become aware of their relationships to themselves and others, learn about conflict resolution and develop feeling of gratitude. The fact that City Year AmeriCorps members are learning these tools, and then teaching them to the kids in the schools, is really no different than what we're doing.
Why is important to encourage young adults and around the country to consider serving with City Year Buffalo?
Because, Buffalo has waited a long time and they are ready to roll. It’s a great place to live! AmeriCorps members now have this incredible opportunity to meet Buffalo youth who are like no other group of young leaders I have ever met in my life. They stand up, they show up and they deliver – but they can't do it alone.
They need support and mentors so they can launch, fly and dream. I know there's youth all across this country and world who need the same deserving service, love and partnerships. But I've watched Buffalo go through the good and the bad and to have a national organization be in that city, is actually life changing. There is so much possibility.
Buffalonians say yes before they say no. With that, they've already said a resounding yes to City Year. They're totally on board. Now, we just need to show up in a big way!