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Name: Joshua Paquette
School Serving: New York Civic Engagement Team
Hometown: Trumbull, CT
What made you decide to join City Year?
I went to St. John's University, a school that models itself on Service Leadership and the Vincentian Mission. The Vincentian Mission called others to help the economically disadvantaged and the physically disabled. These values rubbed off on me, and I wanted to continue the Vincentian Mission not just for my school, but for myself. Because I had developed a background tutoring international students in English, City Year seemed like a good fit to start my time in service.
Why are you committed to serving with City Year?
Although I initially joined City Year as a way for me to serve, I stay with City Year because I think City Year is one of the best service organizations in the nation. I admire City Year's ability to find the balance between using the idealism and energy of the young while also being sustainable and supported by data. In doing so, I feel confident that all of us are helping to positively impact New York City.
How do you know you are making a difference?
A great thing about Civic Engagement is that the difference you make is very tangible. We can calculate the amount of value that was added to a school, and with before-and-after photos, you can easily see what a difference a mural can add to a wall. On top of that, you almost always hear from students and staff about how much they love the changes made to the school. These are all great ways of letting you know the kind of impact you are having on a school.
What does it mean to you to have Bain Capital sponsor your team?
For one, being sponsored by Bain Capital really supports the NYCE team's goal of building relationships with corporate partners to further City Year's mission to impact high-need communities. On top of that, Bain Capital clearly shows itself to be committed to Corporate Social Responsibility. It creates a feeling of support, and I'm proud to be sponsored by them.
Please share a Starfish Story.
A favorite Starfish story of mine was for our Site Visit in preparation for the Wells Fargo Site Visit. We were brought into a massively overcrowded storage room that was going to be converted into a family center. The principal had then introduced us to Ms. Maggie, the person who would be in charge of the Family Center and our point of contact for its redesign. When we first asked her what she would like for the redesign of the building, she told us she did not know. She suggested a simple wall repainting, and lamented that we probably could not change all the things that were there. We told her that was not in fact the case and mentioned that the sink and its cabinet could be cleaned and refurbished, and that we could add murals to the walls. As we probed her for ideas, the gravity of what was being offered to her appeared to sink in, and she started to cry tears of joy. It was a moment when I truly realized that the impact goes far beyond the students that we serve to have a positive effect on the teachers, school administrations, parents and even the school community.