It’s a simple uniform: black pants, a gray shirt and a red jacket. But this clothing represents much more. When AmeriCorps members don their City Year red jackets, they not only reaffirm their commitment to public service, they symbolize the education nonprofit’s collective dedication to helping students, schools and communities reach their full potential. 

On Thursday, May 26, City Year Little Rock will host the Red Jacket Luncheon to advance its efforts to equip central Arkansas students with the academic, emotional and social skills they need to thrive. Jennifer Cobb, senior vice president and executive director, is giving a sneak peek at the first-ever event and a look into the mission behind the iconic red jacket.


How is City Year Little Rock advancing educational equity?

JC: Since it was established in 2004, City Year Little Rock has focused on building a climate of success in our partner schools where all children can build on their strengths and fully engage in their learning. Our AmeriCorps members work every day to help students improve their academic performance, raise their attendance rates and enhance their social-emotional skills.


City Year is known for its Red Jacket Ball. Why did you decide to change course?

JC: We want to foster a sense of belonging in the schools we serve and within our community. Switching to a lunch event allows time for a conversation about how we can build structures to support students now and post-pandemic. 

We’re excited to host John Tupponce, chief operating officer for City Year Inc., and learn more about how we can apply his lessons learned as a classroom teacher and educational administrator to strengthen community support for local students and schools.


How can we support City Year?

JC: We hope everyone will consider attending the Red Jacket Luncheon on Thursday, May 26 at 11:30 a.m. at the Heifer Village Pavilion. City Year is also now recruiting AmeriCorps members for the 2022-2023 school year. Individuals interested in helping students succeed — and building their future careers — can apply online. Of course, contributions of any amount are always welcome. 


For more information about the Red Jacket Luncheon, click here. Learn more about City Year Little Rock on its website, and follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.