Written by Colleen Morgan, Senior AmeriCorps Member serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation Team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School
When most people think of Spring Break, they think of nice sandy beaches, vacation with friends and family, and no school. Here at City Year, we like to celebrate Spring Break together in various trainings and service events. This year, something different happened: Kenilworth had a completely different spring break than any of the other schools we serve in Baton Rouge, so we had the most special service week of all! As a team we took to the city of Baton Rouge and worked all around town with various service partners and City Year Baton Rouge friends.
Monday was a morning of spring-cleaning at Mid City Development, where we helped organize some City Year supplies and took inventory. It was a start to the week that was needed. Airing out some of the old and making room for the new as this service year begins to wind down and things begin to gear up for the next set of AmeriCorps members. With the help of our CYBR's Operations Manager Annmarie, the task was filled with laughter, my terrible outdated iPod playlists, and teamwork. Starting the week off with a more physical service was a nice reminder on how City Year gives us the opportunity to really explore all types of service and helps us see all the different ways you can give back to the community.
Tuesday we headed to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. We volunteered along side a few other community members and packaged sorted cans and snacks so they could be shipped out all over the Greater Baton Rouge area. The food bank was incredible. Learning the mechanics on how to run a shop where last year alone 10.7 million meals were distributed was fascinating. The building is huge, with warehouses neatly organized so anyone could walk in and find anything non-perishable they could possibly imagine. Again, I found myself thinking how thankful I was for City Year providing an opportunity to see another facet of service and how important it is to have service warriors in the community.
Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to spend the day at Front Yard Bikes. Dustin is a superhero and his shop is basically the bat cave but with tools to fix bikes instead of bat mobiles. City Year Baton Rouge allows AmeriCorps members to volunteer for tutoring at the shop Wednesday afternoons, but what happens before these tutoring times is amazing. Students from all over the city come together to work on bikes, grow gardens, and play some high quality pick up basketball. Dustin and his Delta AmeriCorps members run the shop like a fine-tuned, well-greased, bike chain. Dustin LaFont, a City Year Baton Rouge Alumni, was a perfect example of how AmeriCorps members can change this world and continue their service past their service years.
Thursday we made our return to the food bank. With new tasks and new faces we ventured to new parts of the warehouse and were able to help new sets of people. Our team laughed so much these days that I wasn’t sure if my soreness was coming from the lifting and moving or the constant ab workout my team provided each day. All of these service days led us to a team day Friday. This team day was a day of rest and a day of recharging. The week certainly wore us out, but it was the kind of tired where your body was thankful for all of the moments that led you there.
My team is my rock. This week of service made me feel that even more than I had all year. Each person plays a role in my life, and if even one of them were missing, the play would be incomplete. So while my spring break wasn’t full of beaches or vacations or even a day off, it was one of the best weeks of my two service years put together.