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Applications for City Year Columbus Has Nearly Doubled

City Year is a 10-month program for 17-24 year olds that gives them the opportunity to do community service.

For 15 years, City Year Columbus has taken over the front of the state capital for their unity rallies in downtown Columbus. Although the deadline has passed, applications for this Fall's class were nearly double from last year's. It seems that there are lots of people interested in making a commitment to the program. That's the case for City Year corp member David Solomon, "there are certainly challenges. We put in long hours. Fifty hours a week is probably an average and while that's challenging, I even enjoy that. The hard work".

In return for the 10-month obligation, City Year Corp members get a living stipend of at least one-hundred and sixty dollars a week. It's not much but Solomon is unphased by the paltry income. "I think that's also part of the experience though. You're kind of on the level of everybody else - the people you're serving, the people you're working with kinda balances everything out."

The educational award is over 47 hundred dollars. It can be used toward a college degree, graduate school as well as existing or future qualified student loans. A school is qualified if it is a Title IV institution of higher education.

Mike Moran is also a corp member. The college tuition benefit drew Mike Moran to the program. But he says the program itself has been an education. "Originally I did it because I didn't have any money to go to college and City Year gives you an educational award at the end um, but at the end of the first year, I liked it so much and I had such a bond with the children that I worked with that I just wanted to come back and strengthen that bond and give them a consistent role model."

City Year Corp members have to complete at least 1700 hours of community service along with a few other requirements for the educational award.

Although there are financial incentives for participating in City Year. Some members are just dedicated to serving the community. "I knew before I started, um, about their service aspect. And I was big on service and I wanted to be a part of that. They have a positive kind of outlook towards the community with doing service and helping people out KF: But you could do that on your own? EN: I could, but with a group of people we're more powerful".

That was Ericka Nelson. She and other City Year members work with students in the Columbus City Schools and work on other service related projects.

Senior corp member Jennifer Fowler. She moved to Columbus from St. Louis to be a part of City Year. She's seen a difference in the attitude of the students she works with. "For them to see a group of young adults who are genuinely caring about what it is that they're learning about and doing and taking an interest in them, to me is rewarding in itself." Fowler and most corp members, are staunchly proud of the work that they do in the community. But there are other benefits. "City Year's motto is give a year, change the world' and I learned at the end of last year, it's not just about changing the world, it's about changing yourself." I'm 22 years old and, so, it just makes me believe, like, that anything is possible and it just gives me that feeling that I'm actually helping the next generation. That's Deante Weidner. He's in one of 35 slots that City Year fills annually.

Anthony Geraci is another corp member. He knows that there are many opportunities to help others but he decided that during this recession, his services would be best put to use right here in the U.S. "It will change how you look at the world in such drastic ways that you can always help someone around the corner and you don't need to go to a third world country to make a difference. You can make a difference around the corner"

Kim Fox, WOSU News.