City Year Team dazzles RC students

Thursday morning. The last day of the capsule Foundations course: Society and Enterprise. 80 RC students file into Aldrich 209 to debate the relationship of Timberland with City Year, and the implications the company’s recent performance on their involvement with the City Year project.
After introducing the guests, Allan Grossman calls in two City Year team members. As RC students wait, two of the youngest HBS guests enter the classroom. They are wearing bright red jackets, and start off with an enthusiastic morning “chain break” set of jumping exercises. The class joins in. The enthusiasm is infectious.
Harbus met with these two youngsters, for a quick chat. As the interview starts we are continually interrupted by HBS students who stop to wish them the best in their future plans, thank them for coming here or just congratulate them on doing things that make a difference.
Harbus: Tell me a little about yourself
TP: My name is Tana Prosper. I am 21 years old. I hail from Queens NY. I am a Sociology Major Undergrad at Wesleyan University, CT. I have taken a year off before my final year there. I have been with City Year since September 2000 in Boston.
JL: And I’m Josh Leigh. I am 19 years old, and am from Wiscasset High School in Maine. I am just out of High School, and am taking a year off before commencing my undergraduate studies.
It is tough work. City year is demanding
PA: Why City Year? Why Boston
TP: A friend at college had done this. She keeps talking about how great it was, and how much she learnt from the experience. I just decided I wanted to take a year off and take up the challenge and do something rewarding.
JL: It was just this Vietnam war mindset – you either go to college or go to the army. I did not want either – I did not appreciate education immediately after (going through) the public school system. I guess I was feeling a bit cynical. And I am not a confrontational violent person…would not take to the military style!
PA: How did your family react to this decision?
TP: I wanted to do it last year, but my family wanted me to finish school first. I went back to school but was not happy to go back. I wanted to take a year off. I also wanted to work in the Boston office – everyone in Boston knows about it, so it would not be a start up experience
JL: My mother was OK with it, since my sister lives in Boston…she would still have some control on what I was up to!
PA: Is this your first experience on your own?
JL: Yes. I am in an apartment on my own for the first time. I was sharing it with two other City Year members, but one has left the program.
TP: For me too. It is an interesting experience.
PA: How do the finances work out?
Both answer in unison: It is very very tough to even pay rent. We have to work part-time, or draw upon previous savings, or ask parents to subsidize the costs.
PA: What are your plans for the future?
JL: I am keen to apply to Northeastern University and do Dramatics there.
TP: After getting my degree – maybe City Year in NY…I am a university basketball player – maybe want play overseas…
PA: What have been your experience with City Year?
TP: It has taken me out of my comfort zone…I had never thought of doing such things, talking to you guys here…It has given me a lot of self confidence. Obviously I won’t make a total 360 degree turn, but it is a definitely a start. It helps others get started.
JL: The ego gets inflated here…! Imagine being here at HBS with you all!
PA: Any plans to get into business school ?
Both: NO!!!!!!