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Spreading the Love

November 4, 2012

Credit: Jenni Horne Studios

 By Matt Durham, Corps Member Proudly Serving on the CSX Team at Langston Hughes Academy

A few weeks ago the City Year New Orleans corps held a training session with Charlie Rose, the Dean of City Year. He told us his story about his role in the inception of our organization in Boston (which made me a little homesick to hear tales of the Hub), and his continuing dedication to service. Amidst all of the wisdom he shared with us, one tidbit has stuck with me and motivated me for the past few weeks. Rose told us that when someone asked what his life’s mission was, he responds with “To spread love as far and as wide as I can.”

It didn’t hit me for a while just how powerful a statement that really was. I’m frequently asked what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. What are you plans beyond City Year? Grad school? Law school? Teaching? Another service year? I’ve never been one for concrete life mapping, and I feel myself reverting back to Charlie Rose’s simple statement again and again.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to give a definitive answer to those questions. The people who’ve inspired me most in my life aren’t necessarily those with the biggest paychecks or the fanciest titles, but those that have dedicated themselves to an idea or a purpose. The ones who say even at an old age “I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up.” The ones who don’t make the headlines, but make people’s days through simple acts of kindness. The ones who live their lives for others. Charlie has accomplished so much, but it’s comforting to hear from a person as decorated as him that his motivation comes from something so genuine.

As the school year wears on I know that I’ll need to start narrowing my options down for the next few years of my life. I have an incredible support team around me with teammates, teachers, and administrators who can help guide me along with whatever help I might need. At morning circle our team has been discussing the idea that being a part of City Year means being part of a movement greater than yourself.  It’s true, and it is a movement I’m honored to be a part of.

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