Spotlight on Detroit
Community Advocate & Philanthropist
RJS National Steering Committee member
City Year Detroit Site Board Member & RJS Co-Chair
RJS Membership Level: Silver
Member since: 2016
Supporter of: City Year Detroit and City Year Sacramento
Jennifer Granger and her husband, Chris, have supported City Year since 2016. Their involvement began in California where Chris, then president of the Sacramento Kings, served on the board of City Year Sacramento, and has continued after the family moved to the Detroit area in 2017. Today, Jennifer serves on the City Year Detroit Site Board and as Co-Chair of Detroit’s Red Jacket Society. She is also a member of the Red Jacket Society National Steering Committee.
For Jennifer, the fact that City Year AmeriCorps members show up for students every day is the most powerful aspect of our holistic approach to supporting student and school success, and the reason why her family is so committed to the organization’s mission. “The City Year Jacket is such a constant reminder that there are people in the world that care about them and believe that they can be something,” says Jennifer. “The red or yellow jacket for the children we serve is more than just a jacket. It’s a symbol that somebody cares about them and believes they can do great things in this world.”
What inspired you to get more deeply involved with City Year?
I went on a school tour because I wanted to learn more about City Year and its mission. After the tour, I got in my car and cried. I’m involved philanthropically in many causes and I’m touched by all them. If I shed tears for every organization I support, I’d be crying all day long. But I was so moved by the City Year tour because I grew up with challenges in my childhood. That’s where my passion for service around under-privileged children comes from--I can really relate to those kids because I was one of them.
I remember getting in the car and thinking, “Even though I’ve been able to build this great life, including the ability to give back, if I had a City Year AmeriCorps member in my life, someone who believed in me and supported me every day while I was growing up, my path would have probably been a lot easier. The school tour made me realize I wish I had corps members who believed in me, and that I could help ensure that more students receive that support and encouragement during their educational experience.”
City Year Detroit AmeriCorps member and Red Jacket Society Ambassador
Serving Since: 2017
Serving At: Brenda Scott Academy
City Year Detroit AmeriCorps member Rob Auger, 23, is from Pittsburgh, and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in advertising. He hopes to work in development after his service year, and enjoys playing soccer and ballroom dancing. He says he serves “because I strongly believe that if someone can give, they ought to.”
What does wearing the City Year jacket mean to you?
To me, the City Year red jacket means that I am a part of something larger than myself. It connects me to all those who serve with me in Detroit as well as AmeriCorps members who are serving across the country. This is important to me because there is an inherent power to this unity. This unity means that the first time I stepped into my school in uniform, my students could trust me because of the positive experiences they had with young adults who wore the red jacket before me.
Both students and teachers see me as someone who can be relied upon to help them, whatever they may need. When people see my teammates and me in our red jackets, they know that we are there to help. Many times, people have come up to me and told me that they had a City Year AmeriCorps member help in their children’s schools, or in the schools that they have worked in. It’s those moments that remind me that the work that I get to do every day in Detroit is part of the same, larger effort that is underway across the country.