New York City
My name is Alison Washabaugh and I am Year Up’s Chief of Staff. My year up was my year of service with City Year, an AmeriCorps (the domestic Peace Corps) program, after I graduated high school. It was a transformative year for me, one that taught me the power of service and the realities of the opportunity divide in our country. But it almost didn’t happen. When I applied, City Year told me I was too young; I missed the age cut off by 10 days. I was ready to accept that and find an alternative, but I told one of my high schools teachers, Ms. Wysocki, about it. She and I weren’t particularly close but, regardless, she sprang into action, reaching out to City Year and telling them to reconsider. I was accepted the next week. That small action from her took my life in a different direction. You never know who will go the extra mile for you; take care of every relationship. And you never know whose life you can change; always look for ways to offer your support.