By Faith Ashton, LABB Baton Rouge Community Organizer
After much planning, the Standard Heights Spring Fling Block Party finally came into fruition last Saturday April 13th. In terms of success I have to say I’m pleased with the end result. People came and enjoyed themselves and enthusiastically participated in the activities.
We had hoped to have participation from branches of the armed forces and various programs designed to reach at risk children and teens. The Baton Rouge AIDS Society came and reported that 17 people took advantage of the free HIV/AIDS testing and got their results immediately. Despite the fact that B.R.A.S. was the only health organization to participate; the participation of the community coupled with the fact the Baton Rouge is presently number two in the nation for reported AIDS cases leaves me with a great feeling of satisfaction in knowing that a real service was provided to the community.
Through the organizing efforts of getting this Block Party together, the plight of the community, as it relates to upper respiratory problems and cancer, has been brought to the attention of several community health care providers who although they did not participate in the block party are now willing to invest time in seeing how they may serve the Standard Heights community.
Moving forward I have learned many things from this one event. I’ve planned many events but this one in particular was a real eye opener. The depth of division within the community is far more apparent to me now than it was before. However at the same time the willingness of those community members to participate was heartwarming. With the event now completed I am left with feelings of exhaustion, satisfaction, accomplishment, hope, understanding, perspicacity, and motivation, and honestly what more could a community organizer hope to garner from such an endeavor.