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

When we returned from Summer Academy, we had the Louisiana heat and a brand new corps to welcome us. Although we hit the ground running with Basic Training Academy (BTA), we couldn’t help but reminiscence on the wonderful week, and weather, we had experienced in Boston. It was my first summer academy, and as I learned and networked alongside some of City Year’s most passionate leaders, I began to develop a sense of urgency to get back to Baton Rouge to begin another year of service.


Welcomed to the 22nd annual Summer Academy by Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Michael Brown and Senior Vice President and Dean Charlie Rose, the conference began by diving right into City Year’s origin while pressing the message that education is the biggest social injustice issue of our time.


Executive Director Ryann Denham Sanchez and Managing Director of Development Grace Andrews were all smiles as Summer Academy 2015 kicked off with a spirited start! The Opening Ceremony included representatives from each site who shared their “Why I Serve” statement and testaments to the power of City Year by two students currently enrolled in the Boston Public School system.


In an incredible display of spirit, discipline, purpose, and pride, the 1300 idealists who attended Summer Academy came together for the largest Unity Rally in City Year history.


Senior AmeriCorps Members Annmarie Valentin, Emily Hinshaw, Janae Babineaux, Tiana Hill, and Amber Curry gather together before hearing City Year Inc. President Jim Balfanz speak about Idealism in Education and our long-term goals. Also pictured as staff photobombers John Nolan, Diliesha Bryant and Hannah Dahlby.


For the fourth year in a row, City Year Baton Rouge was humbled to receive the Best of City Year Award for the impact on the community.


The week-long conference at Northeastern University brought City Year sites from around the United States and even internationally together to Align, Build, and Connect as One City Year. The week honored our shared humanity and celebrated our deeply rooted culture. We return to Baton Rouge ready to embark on another year of service impacted by the network-wide collaboration and the growth we all experienced at Summer Academy 2015.

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