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City Year celebrates kick-off

admin | 1/12/2012, 11:22 a.m.

To kick of its new year, City Year Miami called in some real star power. Recently, tennis player Venus Williams delivered the keynote address to celebrate the organizations 4th annual opening day ceremony. The tennis star spoke to 134 newly-installed young leaders of City Year Miami, that have committed themselves to helping students at-risk of dropping out to stay in school and on track for graduation. As everyone knows Im from Compton, California and no one expected me to make it, she said. They never expected me to make it in tennis. And Im sure they didnt expect to have two people from the same family make it. With the right amount of hard work you can make it too. The opening day ceremony is held to kick off a challenging and rewarding year of service for the organization. The volunteers are set to serve full-time in 13 schools across Miami-Dade County. Each member is uniquely qualified to improve student attendance, behavior and coursework which help students and schools succeed. City Year Miami was launched in the fall of 2008 as a way to support the Miami-Dade Public School (M-DCPS) system in its efforts to help youth succeed in school and realize their potential. Our impact with Miami Edison Senior High is very important to the future of that high school, said Aquaus Kelley, 24, corps member. The kids we serve, I see them all as stars. The 134 volunteers pledging to serve will have their hands full this year. They will serve 227,800 hours as mentors and tutors for more than 1,000 children in partnership with M-DCPS, lead after-school programs that reinforce learning and good behavior and engage citizens in dynamic physical service events to beautify schools and communities throughout Miami-Dade County. I joined this program to inflict change and I love it, said corps member Corenthia Hartfield, 18. My brother was recently released from jail. He has three battery and gun charges. He is currently released on probation and if he violates it, he gets 61 years in jail. So, I want to prove to him that I can do good and I want to show these kids that they can do the same thing too. I know there are so many kids out there that are just like him. If I can just reach out to one of them, Im saving a life. By Randy Gricergrice@miamtimesonline.com