BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a Thursday and crews are at the YWCA's Early Head Start Program on Goodwood Boulevard, but they are not going inside because their volunteer job is in the playground, where a nice reading area has been installed with seats for resting while reading and gravel to make the area distinct.
Members of the United Way's Emerging Leaders program are working to install a Little Free Library. It's like a glass door cabinet on a stick that has a window, through which you can see books that are there for reading, taking home and even keeping!
Three men are taking turns with a simple post hole digger and shovel. No power post digger here, just plain ol' elbow grease.
"It's a good thing they charted four hours for this project!" one man laughed.
They keep digging and stopping to measure the depth so that the Little Library will be at the perfect height for Head Start Pre-K children to reach.
WAFB's Donna Britt talks with Andrew Mouledous, a vice-president in commercial banking at Capital One Bank. Mouledous is chair of the Emerging Leaders Board.
"Emerging Leaders is a group of young professionals at United Way who give to the leadership level," said Mouledous. "But they're also interested in doing hands-on work within the community."
Emerging Leaders enlists people who are under 40 years of age. Their energy and drive are evident in their dedication to children and education. Mouledous heads downstairs at the United Way Headquarters on Laurel Street. There you see a room stacked with supplies, including some of the classics of children's books, all looking brand new. There's Cat-in-the-Hat, Stella Luna, fantastic treats for children who will explore the Free Little Libraries.
Mouledous points to a big flat block of shrink-wrapped materials.
"This is actually some of the pieces of the Little Free Libraries that we're gonna be installing and we're going be putting these together and installing them into some of the locations we picked," he explained.
The kits come with the pieces pre-cut, screws in plastics bags and an instruction sheet on how to assemble everything. A bag of Quik Crete is nearby to anchor the post of the little buildings on a pole.
"We definitely have some artists in the group," Mouledous added as he pointed to the their Born Learning Trail Project.
They are painted pathways near areas where children are ... places like parks and schools. A brightly painted hop-scotch board can teach counting without a child even noticing.
Mouledous said the woodworkers do assembly of various projects and are at work on this Free Little Library. He added they have construction company members who are very expert at their installations of projects.
As Donna Britt flipped through the snapshots of volunteers doing their many projects, it became clear that Emerging Leaders offers free manpower for good causes. It was also a chance to meet others and make friends who share a love for community work. Emerging Leaders is shaping a community of tomorrow which will be rich with volunteers.
Corporate sponsors for the Power of 9 awards are the Louisiana Honda Dealers, Capital Area United Way's Volunteer Center and WAFB are very proud to honor super volunteers like the Emerging Leaders.