Written by Colleen Morgan, Senior AmeriCorps Member serving at Kenilworth Science and Technology School.

The year of service has begun here at CYBR! School teams have been created, uniform pieces have been ordered and intervention rooms are full of corps members ready to serve their students. As Democracy Prep’s school year has begun, the other schools wait nervously for the students that will soon be filing the desks and focus lists. These last few days are always the hardest, but when the first day of school rolls around, all of this waiting and training will prove worth it. So as you jump into your year of service, remember that pledge we helped you memorize and let it help guide you throughout your time here with CYBR!

You pledged to serve as a City Year member to the very best of your ability. You have promised a year of service to students you haven’t even met yet. You will have hard times, you will laugh a lot. Just remember to always put your best foot forward for your students, teachers and self.

Honor the rules and expectations of City Year. Embrace the CY culture! Morning greet each day like it’s day one and wear that CY uniform with pride!

Respect your colleagues and communities you serve. Meet everyone you can here in BR! You never know who you’ll see again standing in line at CC’s Monday morning, or at the farmers market on Saturday!

Provide excellent service! Come to work every day ready to jump into the classroom and help every single students put that comma in the right place and carry over that number, even if you reminded them the day before. You being consistent is the greatest gift you can give to the people we serve.

Lead by example and be a role model to children. Remember your students are always watching you in school. And remember the community is watching you as you walk down the street. So inspire them to be model citizens and students. Think twice when you go to pull that cellphone out in the hallway and when you are about to jaywalk downtown.

Celebrate the diversity of the people, ideas and cultures around you. Baton Rouge is a unique city in a unique state. Embrace and learn as much as you can about the world around you. Try all of the food you can and pop in a zydeco CD at home and dance around with your roommates.

Serve with an open heart and open mind. The possibilities of your service year are endless. So open your heart and mind to everything and embrace all of these moments.

Be quick to help and slow to judge. If ever someone needs your guidance or assistance be sure to keep that open mind and to help them as efficiently as possible and with a smile on your face J .

Do your best to make a difference in the lives of others. You are here for a reason, to help make quality education in Baton Rouge accessible to everyone. You are here to inspire young people. You are here to make a difference. Make some goals for your year of service, reflect as often as possible, and make the most of this year.

Build a stronger community, nation and world for all of us. You are the change agent. You are the person that is here making a difference. You are a mover, a teacher, a friend, an engaged community member, a model citizen, a giver, a learner, and most importantly a human, just like everyone else around you. This is your time to make a difference and to leave your mark on this community, nation and world.

Robert F. Kennedy told the world on June 6, 1966 that “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

With this year comes a lot of responsibility, and you are the human that was chosen to be here. You were trusted with this responsibility. You have in you everything that is needed to send ripples of hope into this world and to #makebetterhappen. Remember this pledge you took to yourself and to the people serving next to you and live it out to the fullest. So CYBR, I hope when someone this year and throughout your life asks you how you’re feeling, that it is nothing short of FIRED UP!

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