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Staff Spotlight: Greg Hamblock, Program Manager

June 28, 2013

Staff Profile:

Name: Greg Hamblockgreg
Position: Program Manager, Belaire High School
Years at City Year: First year on staff (2009-2010 Corps Member, City Year Louisiana at Progress Elementary)


Why did you join City Year? I joined City Year as a corps member in Baton Rouge (then City Year Louisiana- two cities, one site) in 2009 because service had long been a part of my life. I did a lot of work with Habitat for Humanity in college, lots of various volunteering in high school with student council, and I wanted to find a way to immerse myself. I heard a underwriting plug for City Year while listening to NPR one night and I said to myself “That’s it.” After my corps year, I went back to working in the private sector, but I’m very glad to be back with CYBR.

 What is your favorite thing about your current role? Since I’m still new to this role, I am really enjoying learning how the site has developed in the 3 years since my corps year. We’ve made a lot of progress in improving internal processes and developing strong partner relationships with schools and donors, and that’s very exciting.

 What is your favorite thing to do in Baton Rouge? City Year gave me opportunities to make connections with people from all different walks of life, both within the corps and also in the community. I moved back to Baton Rouge because I’d never felt as connected to my community as I did when I lived here, so my favorite thing about this city is all of the variety of people and experiences available, because of connections I made during my corps year.

 What are you most looking forward to with the corps year beginning? In the 3 years since I’ve left, I’ve kept up with changes that the site has gone through, and I think this is going to be a great year because so many things are in alignment. I’m looking forward to seeing teams come together and deliver really powerful service to our students. When teams gel and get really focused on serving their students, it’s magic. I’m looking forward to meeting this new corps. We’re going to do great things.

 Do you have any advice for corps members as they are planning their next steps?/ What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your time at City Year? I’ll answer the last two questions with a story and two pieces of wisdom. I spent a lot of time prior to getting here creating this idea of what my corps year was going to look like, because it gave me a sense of certainty- I became very comfortable with my conception of how things would be. After the year started, I spent a lot of time early on feeling angry that reality wasn’t matching up to my expectations. There’s a PITW for this: #112 “City Year is not what you think it is.” On first contact City Year often isn’t what people think it is. The main thing to keep in mind is that we all can keep “discovering” what City Year is about, and we should never be too surprised to learn something fundamentally new about the work we are all doing.

There’s a zen koan that says the same thing:

A Japanese master received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

The master served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” the master said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

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