Written by Jordan Palmer, proud AmeriCorps member serving on the Lamar Advertising Company Team at Melrose Elementary School.
My name is Jordan Palmer and I am an AmeriCorps Member proudly serving on the Lamar Advertising Company Team at Melrose Elementary School. Today, October 20th, is the National Day on Writing, and I wanted to contribute my piece to this year’s theme, #writemycommunity. I proudly gave up 10 months of my life after college and moved almost 1,000 miles away from my home to help the students at my school make the best out of this school year. I am serving a community that I did not grow up in but I am proud to call my home: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Working for City Year Baton Rouge I have been able to dive into my new community. I serve along with 63 corps members here in Baton Rouge, where we work one on one with students, as well as on a whole school level in four elementary schools and two middle schools, totaling six different schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish.
Aside from our service in schools, we have already had opportunities to go out and serve the Baton Rouge community at large. Partnering with Star Hill Church on one Saturday morning, we helped clean litter and eradicate blight in the neighborhoods that our students live in. We were able to team up with BREC, our local Parks and Recreation department, at the beginning of the school year to give out book sacks to students who needed school supplies in our district. We were also able to help out my school, Melrose Elementary, by spending our Opening Day Back to Service event there. We rebuilt vegetable gardens, painted two peace poles, repainted picnic tables that the corps members at Melrose can now use for tutoring sessions, and built brand new benches for the teachers to use during their morning and afternoon bus duty.
For Southern University’s Homecoming, City Year was asked to help out with the logistics of the parade and, as a treat, we also got to walk in the parade in our Red Jackets. During that walk, corps members got to tell people who have never heard about City Year all about our mission to #makebetterhappen. We also got to see many of our students and their parents, who thanked us for all that we do. It brought tears to my eyes to have people who I have never met before yell out “Thank You, City Year, for helping out in our schools and working with our children!” We all may have travelled far and wide to be here this year, but this truly made us feel like a piece of the community.
The community that we serve knows that we are here when the 64 of us go out to serve. Another way we build community here in Baton Rouge is through Unity Rally once per month. During Unity Rally, we recommit ourselves to our pledge and complete physical training in our bright red jackets in the middle of downtown, where everyone can see us.
By myself, I am just a small piece of the puzzle, but together we are 1CYBR serving to #MakeBetterHappen here in Baton Rouge, our new community.