Focusing on Culture and Community

The City Year Baton Rouge 2014-2015 Corps began their first week of training in Louisiana's capital city on Monday. Soon, these 64 AmeriCorps members will be diving head first into their service and impact in six East Baton Rouge Parish schools for ten months. Yet, effective service requires a deeper understanding of the culture and community embedded deeply in Baton Rouge- and within City Year itself. Our first week of training with our corps focused on embracing culture and building community to prepare for the year of service- and transformation- ahead. 


Teambuilding from day one to strengthen our corps. Teambuilding is an essential component of effective service. Nothing at City Year is done on your own. Corps members are always working on teams with one another, with their teachers, and with their students. Teambuilding helps build the trust that it takes to collaborate with others through service, and build a culture of teamwork- one of City Year's highest values. Plus, doesn't it look fun?


Unity Rally: Introducing the City Year Pledge and Call to Service to our corps in our Capitol's front yard. Unity Rally is a City Year cultural piece intended to build community. It is a time when our whole corps unites as one, and proclaims their dedication to serving their city and country. It is meant to be hyper-visible in the community, instilling a sense of pride and citizenship for anyone who happens to pass by, stay and watch, or join our rally!


Discovering our leadership styles through Leadership Compass. Working as a team requires a little bit of empathy and understanding between different people. And making strong teams requires different leadership styles. The Leadership Compass activity helps corps members to understand their own leadership style and the leadership styles of those they'll be serving alongside this year. When you are building community, that understanding goes a long way. Above, corps members share out about their planning styles- by day 3, public speaking is no concern!


Community leaders from different sectors in Baton Rouge captivate the corps on our Social Justice panel. It is difficult to #makebetterhappen in a community if you aren't familiar with the culture and issues in that community. On day 4, the corps spent the day learning about Baton Rouge from six community leaders representing organizations that focus on education, transit, tourism and development, poverty, blight, and youth development. These leaders gave powerful insight to the interconnectedness of issues facing Baton Rouge, and to the amazing efforts of Baton Rouge citizens to give their city a better future. 


The 2014-2015 City Year Baton Rouge corps. On day 5, as the corps convenes for training at Capitol Middle School, a strong and appreciated City Year partner school, they are ready to begin the year with their game faces on (at City Year, a game face is a smile)! In a program like this, it truly only takes a week of culture and community for strangers to become one CYBR family!

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