Whether it’s for the fulfilling work experience or the inspiration of helping others, the reasons why people choose a career in public service are as diverse as the individuals who fill the jobs.
Yet, no matter the reason, their impact centers on one common theme: community. Having a positive impact on people’s lives in their communities fuels the work ethic of many public servants. And they do so with little fanfare or recognition.
During Public Service Recognition Week, it’s time to shine the spotlight on those individuals who serve as federal, state, county, or local government employees. This is the third post in our series for Public Service Recognition Week.
After-School Music Program
Marvin Hatchett, Pasadena Unified School District, Wilson Middle School
Looking out for students goes well beyond Marvin Hatchett’s role as security officer for Wilson Middle School.
“Security officers are more important than people actually think because we’re the first responders, even before the police actually get here,” Marvin said. “We actually stop a lot of things before they happen. We stop fights, we stop the weapons, we stop drugs, we stop everything.”
“I’m security officer during the day and, in the afternoon, I do a performing arts program.”
From piano, drums, guitar, bass, and dance, Marvin oversees a lively after-school program that allows him to use the skills and talent he refined as a young student.
“I played drums in high school. I was in marching band, jazz band, orchestra. So, I grew up in it,” Marvin said.
What led to the creation of his dynamic program?
“Well, I realized that the security part is to keep them safe, but after you keep them safe what do you do? And that’s when God said, okay, open up a door and use your talent that you’re given to give back and before you know it, that’s how the performing arts was born,” he said.
It’s allowed Marvin to connect with students at Wilson and remain in contact with prior students. One of his former students stands out.
“I had one kid that was a phenomenal player, and he called me back from high school and he said, ‘I just need to come in,’ and I said just come by,” Marvin began. “He took his backpack off and he slammed it on the ground and he went straight to the red drum set. So, he’s just going off, he’s just going, going, going. I’m playing with him, but I’m just watching and finally you could just see it. It’s like afterwards, he’s just crying, and he hugged me. ‘I needed that. I had nowhere to go. I thought I was gonna, you know, go into something that was going to be bad.’”
“A good day on a job is like sending the student home with a smile on their face,” Marvin continued. “And knowing that I’d still accomplish something for today. And they have a good day. That’s what’s important—being a life-toucher.”
CalPERS is proud to feature the people who serve the state of California in this special series, We Serve CA. If you have a great story to tell about what public service means to you and how you serve the state of California, please share it with us on our Facebook page, or by using the hashtag #WeServeCA on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!