Meet four City Year Baton Rouge Alumni who moved to this city for a year (or two!) of service and then made this their home. They are truly Leaders for Life here in Baton Rouge and our community is better because of individuals like them.
Why did you join City Year Baton Rouge?
JB: I was approaching graduation and about to receive a degree in History and had no clear picture of where I was heading next. It was through a series of fortunate events that I discovered City Year Baton Rouge. Throughout the entirety of my life I had always had a love for children and aspired to be a teacher. Along the way though many people deterred me from the profession for a variety of reasons. This was an opportunity for me to work inside the schoolhouse and decide for myself if it was where I wanted to be. I was also drawn to the near-peer model and community involvement City Year offered.
BD: I joined City Year because after graduating undergrad, I wanted to spend time helping others doing something that was much bigger than myself.
JM: I joined City Year Baton Rouge to experience Louisiana and the eduation and non-profit sectors.
AR: Simply put, I wanted to make a difference. I joined City Year because it presented me with the best opportunity to apply my passion for working with young people. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted be an educator at the time and my service with City Year allowed me to experience working in a school environment, building relationships with school staff, helping classroom teachers, and experience first-hand the ins-and-outs of being in this profession.
Why did you decide to stay in Baton Rouge after your year of service?
JB: After serving my two years with City Year Baton Rouge there were two main reasons I decided to stay. The first is that I had developed a true sense of belonging in the community and felt that it was the time and place for me to continue the work I had begun. The other was that I found a school that I believed I could do just that.
BD: I decided to stay in Baton Rouge after my service because of all the great opportunities that I was exposed to during my service opened up pretty big doors for me to grow as a person.
JM: I enjoyed working with so many different groups of people including the students I worked with in 8th grade and my City Year team that I felt as if my story in Louisiana wasn't over. So, I stayed on with City Year and I haven't looked back.
AR: I actually left Baton Rouge after my corps year in 2012 to pursue my Master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After earning my degree, I returned to Baton Rouge for two reasons: the people and the opportunity. I was fortunate to make some really strong relationships with fellow corps members, staff at Belaire High School, and others throughout the Baton Rouge community. On top of that, it was clear that the Baton Rouge landscape was becoming a place of innovation in education, and thus opportunities for new educators like myself were beginning to arise. I believe that there are even more opportunities today.
What’s your favorite thing about Baton Rouge?
JB: My favorite thing about Baton Rouge is that it is a "big city" with "small town" vibes. It is easy to make personal and professional connections that can truly impact your life here. The people, the food, and the opportunities for a good time are the jewels of Baton Rouge.
BD: My favorite thing about Baton Rouge is that it’s a small town, but its literally growing/evolving every single day. I’ve only been here for two years and there has been some great changes from when I first got here to now.
JM: My favorite thing about Baton Rouge is location, location, location! Baton Rouge is only a little over an hour to New Orleans, an hour from Lafayette, four hours from Houson, TX, and a short drive from numerous other must visit Louisiana hot-spots. Not to mention Baton Rouge has a variety of great things to do and it is growing quite a bit!
AR: By far, my favorite thing is the people I have met, from my church family, to other educators, to guys I golf with on the weekends (and of course, my students!). They have been nothing but welcoming and supportive.
What surprised you the most about living in Baton Rouge?
JB: I think after living here for four years throughout my college experience I thought I knew all there was to Baton Rouge but once I joined City Year, that notion was quickly dismantled. I discovered new people, new places, and new organizations that were making waves to creating a more dynamic city.
BD: The thing that surprised me the most about living in Baton Rouge is that there is always something going on.
JM: What surprised me the most about Baton Rouge is how connected everything and everyone is. There is a clear sense of community here which may sound cliché but it is absolutely the case. People are friendly, strike up conversations and seem to know the people you know. Don't be surprised if you get invited to more than one festival or crawfish boil either.
AR: To be a state capitol and a growing city, Baton Rouge still feels like a small town. If you know someone here, chances are they know someone else you know.
Every AmeriCorps Member should __________________________while in Baton Rouge!
JB: go to a crawfish boil
BD: eat Raising Canes while sitting on the Levee watching the sunset
JM: enjoy the view and some sushi at Tsunami's at the top floor of the Shaw Center in downtown, attend an LSU tailgate and check out a couple of the amazing festivals the city hosts annually
AR: eat pounds and pounds of crawfish from Capitol City Crawfish on Government Street