A community-wide effort to promote change drew some much needed attention to the Gus Young neighborhood. The area is often riddled in crime.
Gus Young Park was full of patrons early Monday morning. There was plenty of live entertainment, food, and kids enjoying the playground, but the party was mostly about celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. For the volunteers, that meant it was time to get to work.
Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC) junior programs director, Lauren Robinson, said around 100 people signed up to help make the neighborhood better. "Community is not just people you drive past. Community is people you live with, work with, support," Robinson said.
Capitol High School sophomore, David Allen, said it gives him and his friends a sense of pride knowing they were a part of the change. "I think it brings down the negativity in the community and makes a more positive atmosphere," Allen said.
The work done included everything from clearing old buildings, painting murals, and even helping the older generations spruce up their homes. East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome encouraged volunteers to keep up the good work.
Muralist, Geeta Dave, said the artwork will serve as a constant reminder. "That's something every day they can come and enjoy and second thing they can get inspiration through it and something every day when they pass through something colorful to see for them," Dave said.
The hope is that once the paint is dry, the youth will take ownership of their work and encourage others do good in their community.
"Especially after the summer we've had. It is vital for all of our students for all of our students at the BRYC to know your community you are part of it and they are part of you," Robinson said.
A festival at Gus Young Park marked the grand finale of four days of service.