By: Emma Sullivan, Corps Member proudly serving on the Volunteer Louisiana Team at Merrydale Elementary School
Before I begin, I want to appreciate last year’s Merrydale Elementary School team for leaving a strong legacy that we were able to grow from. Not only did they build great relationships with the teachers and staff and set an example of what City Year is, but they started programs and projects that we were able to use as springboards for our own ideas.
As Kate and I have blogged about in the past, our team and our students love recess. It’s a much needed break in the middle of the day to relax, hang out with friends, and just be kids. When I first arrived at Merrydale, I was appalled by its lack of playground equipment, and wondered how the students were supposed to play without a jungle gym or a slide. Now, I see that nothing can stop our students from playing during recess. They play basketball, foursquare, hopscotch, tag, hand-clapping games, dance, and learn how to do cartwheels and flips.
As the year progressed, we recognized that our kids are at their best when they are outside and moving, and we learned to adapt many of our lesson plans for the outdoors. Last year’s team observed the same thing, and painted a United States map, as well as a hopscotch board on the concrete. We watch students use and adore both of their designs every single day. As our final service project at Merrydale, our team added some features that are both fun and educational, and are sure to add some flair to next year’s tutoring sessions! We added another hopscotch (with geometric shapes), a compass, and a life-sized chutes and ladders board.
Despite the unrelenting sun and the million-degree concrete, I found this project to be the perfect final service project at Merrydale this year. I love my team to pieces, and enjoyed spending time with them talking, laughing, and literally leaving our mark on the same concrete on which we spent so many of our beloved recess hours. Sadly, most of us won’t have an opportunity to see our students enjoy the new games. That wasn’t the way it was initially supposed to happen, but I actually think it worked out better this way. Completing this project at the very end of the year is a great reminder that we do not serve for ourselves. We serve for our students, next year’s team, and next year’s students. I hope they like it!
As in-school service wraps up in Baton Rouge, our corps members are closing out with their students, schools, and teams, and we prepare to say goodbye to our 2012-2013 City Year Baton Rouge corps, we are excited to celebrate the service and impact of our 62 corps members next week.
We also want to appreciate those corps members who are completing their second year of service with City Year Baton Rouge on May 23. This is a special group of 7 individuals who set out to deepen their impact in their schools and lead other corps members through the service experience. They have truly left their mark on City Year Baton Rouge and we are proud of all the work they have done to build our site. We are sad to see them go, but excited about the new journeys they have ahead of them.
With joy and gratitude to the 2012-2013 City Year Baton Rouge Senior Corps: Cherie Cancio, Laine Halfacre, Molly Herlihy, Dacie Marshall, Jo Reddick, Sara Ross, and Lauren Treacy.
The best reward for the the hardwork our corps members do is the appreciation and positive affirmations of our students. Fortunately, Twitter provides a platform for our corps members to share the funny, sentimental, and heart warming words of our students in real time.
As our corps member service nears its end in Baton Rouge, we wanted to share a few of the joys our corps members let us witness the past few weeks.
Check out corps members stories from across the country by searching #makebetterhappen on Twitter. When someone uses the hashtag #makebetterhappen, it categorizes the Tweet into a feed where all other Tweets that have that same hashtag go – so everyone can see the stories in a single place.This hashtag is all about the victories we experience, our ripples and joys, and the good that happens every day from the work that City Year does our schools.
So much goes into a year of service – and #makebetterhappen allows you to see how great the impact can be, even from some of the smallest victories on a day to day basis.
Follow us on Twitter, @CityYearBR for your own daily dose of inspiration and joy!
During the week of May 6-9, 2013, the Broadmoor Middle School team hosted “Around the World in Four Days,” a multi-cultural celebration. The celebration aimed to address and highlight the importance of diversity, bring cultural awareness to the Broadmoor community, and promote tolerance and inspire respect for different cultures. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each celebrated a different continent, and corps members displayed posters with information about various countries and offered samples of different cuisines during lunch. On Thursday, destination tables were set up all over the gym for the multicultural celebration. Students showed off their own country projects, guests performed and discussed unique hobbies such as soccer, capoeira and tai chi, and everyone got to taste a variety of different foods.
Please join us as we recognize the 62 City Year Baton Rouge corps members who have successfully completed their year of service. Together in partnership with Belaire High, Broadmoor Middle, Capitol Middle, and Merrydale Elementary Schools, Baton Rouge corps members have served more than 105,000 hours in our schools and community.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
North Boulevard Town Square
200 North Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Reception to Follow
To RSVP or for more information contact Carolyn Armgardt at 225.663.4229 or email@example.com
By: Kate Sheeder, Corps Member proudly serving on the Volunteer Louisiana Team at Merrydale Elementary School
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to the teacher I have had the pleasure of working alongside for the past ten months: Ms. Cassandra Carter. Ms. Carter received her bachelors in elementary education from Southern University at New Orleans. She also has her masters in Education Leadership from Southeastern University. She’s been teaching for 12 years throughout Louisiana and Texas. This is her second year teaching at Merrydale Elementary.
Let me be honest for a minute—when I first entered Merrydale, I was nervous about the teacher I would be paired up with. I was afraid our personalities would not mesh, or that I would not be incorporated into the classroom. As City Year corps members, we provide whole class support, which means we work alongside our teacher to make sure our class is engaged, paying attention and completing their course work.
My initial fears proved not to be a problem. Ms. Carter and I started the school year strong and continue to work well together each and every day. She does a wonderful job using me in the classroom whether it’s to have me echo read for the class or keep score during vocabulary jeopardy. We also do a great job of keeping each other updated on our students’ academic and behavior progress. Even beyond work, Ms. Carter has done a great job of taking me under her wing. When I had my doubts about what to do next year, she called me and helped me talk through my options. She also wrote me a great letter of recommendation when I was re-applying for City Year Baton Rouge.
I truly appreciate my relationship with Ms. Carter. My experience this year with City Year Baton Rouge would not have been as wonderful had I not been paired with such an amazing, inspiring and reliable teacher. Thanks for everything this year, Ms. Carter. You’re the best!
By: Eboni Preston, Corps Member Proudly Serving on the Albemarle Foundation Team at Belaire High School
To me, City Year is all about finding that student that isn’t used to getting that positive attention, giving it to them, and watching them progress.
Let me tell you about one of my favorite students, Mr. Timothy Johnson.
Tim is the “cool” guy, and he often avoided asking for help because in high school, well, that’s not the cool thing to do. Pride and his 3 F’s became four of his worst enemies. He didn’t understand math but had two math classes. He didn’t know how to write an essay, but had one due in English and biology. Most important to him, basketball season was coming up and he couldn’t even try out for the team.
I saw what this did to Tim, and even though he didn’t want to admit it, it was wearing on him. We had a lot of work to get done. After a little persuasion, Tim started to come to me for help. For weeks he came to tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday, sometimes until pm. We worked to make sure everything was done, and done the right way.
Weeks turned to months, and first semester came to an end. By this time his grades were drastically improved, and I can proudly say that his 3 F’s turned into 2 Cs, and an A, AND we’re not done yet.
And as exciting to Tim:
He improved in his behavior and his attitude. My baby, my student, became a leader on the court AND in the classroom.
My red jacket allows me to interact with dozens of students like Tim everyday. Together we strive for excellence, and together we make a difference.