Written by Janae Babineaux, Senior AmeriCorps member serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation Team

A small act of kindess can be enough to curb your entire day. A free coffee can turn a gloomy morning bright, and an unexpected clean up can save you time. As part of a larger initiative led by a few City Year sites including Tulsa, Dallas, and San Antonio, City Year Baton Rouge worked to #PayItForward over the last two weeks by collaborating and leading several service projects and events at their respective partner schools. AmeriCorps members and students acted as positive spirit sharers and paid it forward to the people in their communities that make help make better happen each and everyday.  


On April 14th, the 3rd grade Girl Talk girls at Melrose Elementary School participated in the #payitforward movement. The seven girls and their two City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps Members spent their weekly meeting creating signs for the schools newly planted vegetable and herb garden. One of the girls' self-made Girl Talk rules is "Take care of our space." Our #payitforward project allowed us to fulfill this goal and beautify one of the common spaces at Melrose Elementary. 


This Monday, City Year and the students of Merrydale showed our appreciation for the faculty and staff who make everything possible with a morning treat of coffee and doughnuts. That little bump of energy made everyone's day a little brighter. It was fun to #payitforward while also enjoying the smiles of the people we see each day.


The Winbourne Elementary team hosted four March Madness themed parties for the entire second grade student body to celebrate their high attendance in the month of March. The parties included sessions of basketball and jump roping, led by corps members and enjoyed by students and teachers. Even the snacks fit the theme, with goldfish snack bags as backboards and oranges as basketballs.


Team Broadmoor spent Monday April 4 cleaning up the courtyard after school. Our school is the only "outdoor school" for CYBR, and with our school centered around the courtyard we wanted to do our part to keep it beautiful. The yard can get a little messy when students pass between classes or spend time after lunch, but with a little hard work for the CY team, the area was “campfired” in no time.


Capitol Middle school corps members collaborated with the Magnet program coordinator to bring a Birthday Carnival to the magnet students. The students got the chance to play games, have fun and write appreciations to their parents!


The #PayItForward small service project at Celerity Crestworth was a huge success. The students in the lower elementary (K-2) afterschool classes made appreciation letters for their bus drivers. Before we started the project, I had the students collaborate and brainstorm on different nice things to say that would show their bus drivers their appreciation. We provided the students with construction paper, markers, stickers, warm and fuzzies, and other crafts in order for them to personalize their appreciations.


The City Year Clairborne team handed out backpacks filled with food provided by the food bank. The #payitforward service was a great way to help the families and children in the community we serve. Filling hearts and bellies was just a little something to show students how much they mean!

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