In the fall of 2010 Jacob Allen Nichols, founder of Live 2 Serve, started playing catch with a young boy in a BREC park. Soon, that one child turned into many and Nichols found himself playing basketball, baseball, and other sports and games with children in the Old South Baton Rouge area. Nichols realized there was potential and need for growth, and Live 2 Serve officially began work in the Summer of 2011. It started with an informal program called "Live 2 Play", where 40 children would gather to play each Saturday. The founders saw that they had the potential to make a huge impact on the south Baton Rouge community.
In the fall of 2011, Live 2 Play moved to Wednesday evenings and grew to over 50 children. Live 2 Serve also added two additional programs, Live 2 Build and the Homeless Ministry (although now are both discontinued). These two programs were designed to rebuild broken communities of Baton Rouge, both physically and spiritually. During Christmas of 2011, Live 2 Serve worked with LSU's BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) and the Louisiana House of Representatives to provide Christmas gifts to over 600 children living in poverty in Baton Rouge. During the Christmas party, children enjoyed arts and crafts, cookies, and a visit from Santa. This event, now called "The Christmas Giveaway", has grown to be a huge part of what Live 2 Serve does and has become a major fundraising source for our organization.
By Spring 2012, Live 2 Play had grown to over 60 children per night. Live 2 Serve was making a huge impact on the community and showing many children that there were people who cared about them. In the midst of Live 2 Serve's rapid growth, the organization faced a setback. Nichols, was involved in an accident and became very ill during his recovery. That summer, he was forced to take time away to deal with his health concerns. Nichol's absence caused a decline in the program's activities and slowed the advancement of Live 2 Serve.
However, Fall 2012 saw the rebirth of Live 2 Serve, with Nichols returning full time. By this point, Live 2 Serve attracted over 70 children on Wednesday nights, and began partnering with other church groups to expand Live 2 Build, the Homeless Ministry, and a new program, "Live 2 Pray". In the early months of 2013, Nichols faced returning health issues had to take another break, causing another slow summer for the program. Like the previous fall, Live 2 Serve was back in full swing, welcoming over 100 children on Wednesdays at Live 2 Play. A bible study was created for teenage boys, and Live 2 Serve became a popular opportunity for LSU students and student athletes to serve. By the Christmas Giveaway that year, Live 2 Serve had 2,600 people providing toys and clothes to children of the Baton Rouge area.
In 2014, Live 2 Serve continued to reach out to impoverished children and teenagers in the Baton Rouge area, while turning its focus to LSU student volunteers. Live 2 Serve was teaching students how to serve and showing them that they could be a part of something great. That summer, expansion continued with the creation of sports camps and the growth of teen bible studies. This helped crime involving teens in the area to drop. By the fall, Live 2 Serve had grown to a volunteer network of over 200 students. LSU administrators asked Live 2 Serve to get even more students involved in Christmas Giveaway, which Live 2 Serve did, by challenging every LSU student to bring in one toy to give to a child in need. That year, we collected 23,000 toys which were given out across the South. That boost from LSU allowed Live 2 Serve to see its largest growth and biggest success.
Years later, Live 2 Serve continues to grow and thrive, with its programs flourishing and student volunteer numbers higher than ever.