Hi Darnisa, I’m feeling, all at the same time, a level of exhaustion, invigoration, anxiety, pressure and hope that I never have before. And I want to thank you for enabling me to feel all of these things. While I have no words eloquent enough to express my gratitude to you, let me simply just say thank you. Thank you for providing brilliant and extraordinary facilitation to a group of leaders that I believe have the ability to right this ship. Though I question my own abilities to do so, I’m more empowered than ever to try. These past two days literally changed my life and although the time will be challenging to make in the whirlwind and challenges of running my site, time is agency and there is nothing more important.

I feel truly blessed to have been graced by your presence and leadership and I am looking forward to the months ahead with hope. I will follow your lead with humility and passion. You are a rare gem of a human being.

I hope you had a great trip to Louisiana and I’d like to officially nominate my two boys 7 and 4 to be a part of your first child cohort!!!

With love and “wondering”, Jennie

Jennie Johnson
Executive Director, City Year Providence


For starters, I remain on a high following our discussion. I talked you up (not that you needed it) to Jennie and Pawn the evening before you all met. We of course had dinner again the next night and they RAVED about you. They of course didn’t share anything they weren’t supposed to, but the responses I got were, “she was better than you even mentioned”…and trust me Darnisa, you were at the top of the throne!!!! I am SO HAPPY they had such an enriching and full experience. I can’t lie, I was remiss that I wasn’t part of it, but I am EXCITED to go thru this work as a site, and hopefully as a company. I also found Mithra at dinner on the last night and thanked you (in front of our President, Jim Balfanz) to tell her how excited and grateful I was for her continued engagement and pilot with you/DEEP; and how CYB (Boston site) will be working to move fwd with you whether or not CY Inc moves fwd. I also highlighted this great work Mith is leading on with you/DEEP with our CEO and our recruitment team, as this work is all interwoven with the “corps experience” of our corps members and staff alike. This is by far one of the greatest investments we can be making as an organization.

So all this to say….YES!!! I am definitely doing my cohort with you. I know you said you had dates in oct, nov, etc. can you give me the full cohort dates so we can check them against my calendar? That would be extremely helpful!

I.CANNOT.WAIT!!!! I just wish I could jump in with my peeps…but that ‘s okay…we’ll have a common language on this work…at the end of it….or, just the beginning.

Thank You!!!!

Sandra Lopez Burke
Executive Director and Vice President City Year Boston

Good morning, Darnisa.

I just wanted to write and thank you for such an inspiring and eye-opening two days. This is one of the best workshops I have ever attended. I am excited to share my experience with family and friends and use your inspiration in our work with families at Violet and Olive and Kiwi. I also want to thank you for sitting with Em and me yesterday. Your thoughtful words are planting a seed. We now have a much better idea of the message we want to send to prospective families and how we want to deliver our message of equity to the community.

When I picked my daughters up from my in-laws, Em and I showed them, “Double Double This That”. Do you know what my youngest said? “Oh my gosh, mommy! I just learned this on the bus today!” SO we all took turns doing it together and she shared that they changed it to “Double Double Ice Cream” So fun!

The next time you are in the cities, I hope you can stop by our school and visit! It was such a pleasure to meet you!

Have a fantastic end to your week.


Meggan Burak
Montessori Educator