The First Day

Eight o'clock in the morning and they begin to arrive.

They set their bags down on the benches outside of the Abrons Art Center and wait for eight thirty to catch up to their excitement. Some grab breakfast at the diner down the block while others review their notes for the day. A few of them just chat it up with each other about their weekend or what they're doing outside of work, yet somehow the conversations always come back to the day that will officially begin in just a few minutes.

The City Year Senior Corps has been training in New York City since the beginning of July for this day and the ten months following it, but for many of them today is the most important.

Today is the day that the last part of the family comes home: the 200-plus Corps Members that they will lead in a year of service in twenty of NYC's public schools. Today is the first opportunity to set the tone and expectations for a year that will bring struggles and hardship hand-in-hand with success and greatness. Today is when the bar will be set. All of the Senior Corps are, for the most part, completely new to the position. They have very little to fall back on besides their training, their individual skills and intuition, and the bond that they have formed with one another over the past two months.

The question hangs in the air amongst them all, unspoken but nearly visible in its presence:

   Can we do this?