You could say David Caplan is a natural fit for a leadership role in City Year. As a successful, retired businessman with five children of his own and six grandchildren, he has a personal stake in developing the potential of young people, all young people, whom he understands are the future leaders of the world. And that is what City Year is all about.
“Our biggest mission,” says Caplan,“ is to do what we can to eliminate the drop out crisis.” Over the next decade, more than 12 million students are expected to drop out of schools across America.
For more than 25 Years, City Year has been working to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need, and what their schools can provide. And it does that by harnessing one of the most powerful forces for positive change in the world today—young people.
Every year, nearly 3,000 young people between the ages of 17 and 24, join City Year and dedicate 11 months to make a lasting impact on students and communities across the country. Currently, City Year operates in 25 cities throughout the U.S. and in two international locations, Johannesburg, South Africa and London.
Team members, visible in their red jackets, work closely with students in third through ninth grade who are at the greatest risk of dropping out, providing them with the extra academic, emotional and social support they need to overcome the challenges they face, both in and out of school.
Corps members are a carefully selected, highly-trained group of young adults who are giving their time and energy while also learning important life skills themselves such as, how to collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues, how to multitask without sacrificing quality, how to solve problems through critical and constructive thinking and how to lead through inspiration and encouragement without confrontation.
As David Caplan can attest, these are the kind of skills that the corps members will need to succeed in any profession they choose after completing City Year.
As a spry 80-something, David admits to being a workaholic for City Year, still spending many hours a week helping carry out its mission. In fact, he laughingly recounts that his wife of 50 years will ask, “Was the biggest thrill of your life when we got married?”
“I say, ‘No dear, the biggest thrill of my life was when City Year honored me with a red jacket.”