Written by Janae Babineaux, proud AmeriCorps Team Leader serving on the Irene W. and CB. Pennington Foundation Team at Winbourne Elementary School.
There is a certainty that comes along with being a senior corps member. By that I mean you begin to see and understand things in a much clearer way as you travel through your City Year journey. For me, as I embark on this year, my mission and goals are clear. I serve as a devout supporter of City Year and abide by their model of love, generosity, and impact as a lifestyle. As we seek to create change in the community, we as senior corps members are the keepers of the culture, the teacher and always the student, the coach and the biggest fan. Being on a team and part of a village with people who share similar sentiments creates a work environment where the passion is palpable. As we stand upon giants, we welcome those that follow to plant their feet firmly upon our own shoulders.
This year the City Year Baton Rouge Senior Corps team is composed of seven young idealists who are excited to embark on a new journey and guide this year’s corps members through their year of service. Just over a year ago, most traveled from all over the country to serve our community here in Baton Rouge. We now dedicate our time, energy, and love into another year of impact. Here’s a snapshot of who we are!
Amber Curry served her corps year at Merrydale Elementary and has now returned to Merrydale to serve as Team Leader. She is committed to City Year’s mission and believes in the model in which we function. She decided to stay another year because she knows there are big plans here at City Year Baton Rouge and she wants to be a part of that growth and progress. Moving here from New York, she was surprised by how quickly it felt like her home away from home.
Ajita Harrison traveled from Santa Cruz, California to serve with City Year Baton Rouge last July. She spent her corps year at Winbourne Elementary and is now a Team Leader at Celerity Crestworth Charter. She was driven to stay with City Year because of the opportunity to work with young enthusiastic people in a fun environment while creating tangible results. She loves that in Baton Rouge she can go to a chain restaurant on a Tuesday night and find a local band playing.
Tiana Hill, a native of Chicago, Illinois, served her corps year at Broadmoor Middle School and has returned to Broadmoor to now proudly serve as the Team Leader. She had a passion to return to City Year because of the work and impact we make in students’ lives and the strong relationships we build. Her favorite thing about Louisiana is the food, the fun, and the family culture. The environment is always a welcoming one and it didn’t take long for Baton Rouge to become a home away from home. (I see a trend happening…)
Emily Hinshaw from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina served her corps year at Capitol Middle and has returned to Capitol to serve as the Team Leader. The thing she loves most about City Year Baton Rouge is that it is the epitome of community and it is a welcoming group of people who are passionate about our service. When recalling her time in Louisiana, she says that she loves that even as a southern girl, she gets to experience new things everywhere she turns (i.e. crawfish, Canes, festivals)!
From GA to LA, Tavidee Hoskins served his corps year at Merrydale Elementary and is now proudly serving as Team Leader for Melrose Elementary. He is captivated by City Year’s mission and strives to be a champion for the organization. He also loves living in Baton Rouge because of the way you can immerse yourself in the environment effortlessly.
From Middletown, Connecticut Trevor Perry came to Baton Rouge and served his corps year at Capitol Middle School and is now proudly serving as a Team Leader at Claiborne Elementary. He appreciates the spirit and open-mindedness of City Year and the positive environment in which we get to work everyday. He’s also a big fan of Baton Rouge and all the free stuff! From music and festivals to being able to just sight see and take in all the culture.
Annmarie Valentin came to us from Miami, Florida and served her corps year at Broadmoor Middle School and is returning to serve as Impact Leader for City Year Baton Rouge. She decided to stay a second year with City Year because she believes in the mission of City Year and the great work with the students and our community. After an amazing first year, she just wasn't ready to let it all go. She was also interested in seeing 'behind the scenes’ of City Year, which is why she applied for the Impact Leader position. Baton Rouge has been her second home, so to speak, for the past three years. Her boyfriend goes to LSU and while she was living in Miami prior to City Year, she constantly visited Baton Rouge. She fell in love with the culture here and the beautiful land. And let's not forget the southern hospitality and well, Cane's chicken!
And then there’s me, Janae Babineaux. I’m a Louisiana native from right down the road in Lafayette. I served my corps year at Merrydale Elementary and now proudly serve as the Team Leader at Winbourne Elementary. What I’ve come to love most about City Year is just about everything. I love the work we do in schools and communities, I love the people that make City Year the amazing organization that it is, and I love loving to go to work everyday. Although I’ve lived in the southern boot my whole life, being able to introduce others to the Cajun nuances that shape this place and who I am, has given me a revitalized appreciation for the place I call home.