Serve SJ: A holistic approach to uplifting San Jose’s youth & residents

By: Raabia Budhwani, Director of Place-Based Growth at Service Year Alliance and Gisela Bushey, Community Engagement Director with the Mayor's Office of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation

On Saturday, February 11th, Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, California made an audacious inspiring commitment. At his annual State of the City address, Mayor Liccardo shared the “Tale of One City”, a vision for a city diving headlong into its challenges with a focus on investing in its youth to help them growth into active, civically engaged community members.

Building on many of the city’s innovations such as San Jose Promise and Unleash Your Geek, Mayor Liccardo announced ServeSJ, which includes his commitment to increasing service year opportunities for San Jose’s own youth. Recognizing the role a service year can play in empowering youth and addressing local challenges, this initiative is a component of the Mayor’s comprehensive community development strategy. Said Mayor Liccardo, “As Americans, we all cherish service. Consider how we honor the service of our military veterans, our first responders, or our teachers. Our lives gain meaning through our work for others – through our sacrifice for something greater than ourselves.  This is our collective call to action: to serve. Imagine how we could transform our city with a renewed culture of service – one in which we all embrace our role as stewards for our neighborhoods… our youth… our earth…”

“As Americans, we all cherish service. Consider how we honor the service of our military veterans, our first responders, or our teachers. Our lives gain meaning through our work for others – through our sacrifice for something greater than ourselves. This is our collective call to action: to serve. Imagine how we could transform our city with a renewed culture of service – one in which we all embrace our role as stewards for our neighborhoods… our youth… our earth…” - Mayor Liccardo

San Jose is part of Service Year Alliance’s inaugural cohort of the Service Year Impact Community initiative, a group of innovative communities willing to take bold, ambitious steps to address local challenges. Service Year Impact Communities like San Jose have committed to developing service year growth plans — increasing the quality and quantity of service year programs for youth ages 18-28, tying service years to employment and higher education, and ensuring that service year opportunities address pressing local challenges.

Led by retired General Stanley McChrystal, Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. Here at Service Year Alliance, we believe that service year strategies work best when they are connected to an ecosystem for change — like the Mayor’s many initiatives — and that Mayor Liccardo’s commitment to ServeSJ continues to move San Jose towards its goal of becoming the most engaged and innovative city in the nation.

Be the change in your community and join us. Applications for the inaugural Service Year Impact Community cohort are currently being accepted. Communities will have the opportunity to join and learn from a cohort of the most forward-thinking local leaders who recognize that investing in youth and encouraging a culture of civic participation will uplift their communities. Communities will also receive technical assistance from Service Year Alliance.

For more information and to apply, visit about.serviceyear.org/impact_communities.

 

Watch the Mayor's full San Jose State of the City address here: 

About Service Year Alliance
Serve SJ: A holistic approach to uplifting San Jose’s youth & residents
Serve SJ: A holistic approach to uplifting San Jose’s youth & residents
Together we have the potential to make a #serviceyear a common expectation and opportunity for all