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

City Year is an organization rooted in the belief that the power of young people can create change in our society. Those who serve and those who are served are all talented young people with potentials waiting to be actualized. As a first year AmeriCorps member, I served my students day-in and day-out and reveled in the moments when they realized their abilities and their worth. As a second year team leader, I serve my fellow teammates day-in and day-out and find those same moments of joy when they realize their capabilities and the impact they have in the lives’ of others.  Service also gives you the opportunity to meet people from numerous organizations within a community. Over the past 2 years I have gotten the opportunity to serve Baton Rouge high school students through a program called the Manship Student Advisory Board.

The Manship Student Advisory Board is comprised of highly motivated high school students from 27 different high schools within the Baton Rouge community. These young people come together and over the course of a year to create a variety show for an annual beneficiary. Working on different professional aspects of theatre and business like marketing, finance, and performance logistics, they believe that through art, collaboration, and expression we can help change and shape a community. This year's board chose to donate all of the funds to 4thekids. 4thekids is a “teen-founded charity organized in 2012 to expand and improve the children’s hospital facilities in Baton Rouge, and to encourage and promote teen involvement in their endeavor for the construction of a freestanding children’s hospital in our capital city of Louisiana. They believe in making things better for children.”

A huge shout out goes to Noel Thompson, City Year alumnus, who is the board director and an incredible role model for the students that he leads. He is a great example of what City Year means when they say that we’re committed to tapping the power of young people and using it to help spur change in the communities we serve. He is helping foster a generation of empowered and experienced leaders who can surpass the highest of expectations and achieve extraordinary results.

This year AmeriCorps members Kyra Smith, Colleen Morgan, and Kendra Caldwell helped mobilize the efforts of these incredibly ambitious and talented young people. Krya and Colleen oversaw all performance logistics, helping create a variety show that had the audience captivated from start to finish.

The night of the variety show, fellow City Year teammates and friends came out in support of all young people in Baton Rouge.

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