February has been a most productive month for Kedila. Our Xavier University Preparatory School site of our After School Program began operating on Monday, February 18. I look forward to visiting this site and getting to know the students.
Kedila has been blessed with many volunteers from Hands On New Orleans and also Service Learners from Loyola University, Tulane University, and Xavier University. We are very thankful that these students are giving their time to help Banneker and Xavier Prep students, who participate in our After School Program, to reach their potential. Individualized attention truly makes a positive difference in the students’ lives.
Last semester, a volunteer from Tulane, Erin Ricketts, and a service learner from Loyola, Molly “Camille” Fiess, produced a video for the Companies with a Mission Super Service Challenge. This video demonstrates the importance of individualized attention in the lives of Kedila’s students. Please check it out on the Kedila Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KedilaNewOrleans). Thanks to Erin and Camille’s efforts, Kedila won $5000 of funding for its Summer Camp Program.
Kedila is gearing up for its Summer Camp Program, which will serve 200 students at its Banneker site. Kedila is fortunate to have received NORDC funding for its Summer Camp Program. The camp runs for seven hours a day, Monday through Friday for six weeks. The mornings are dedicated to academic instruction and remediation aimed at bridging the gap between school years. The afternoons of the summer program are dedicated to enrichment activities such as art class; karate lessons; African drumming and dance; educational seminars; field trips; science instruction and experimentation; and other traditional summer camp activities. These activities help expose the students to information and activities to which they may not otherwise have access. Students receive a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack each day. The purpose of Kedila’s Summer Camp is to keep students academically engaged during the summer and to inspire a love of learning that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, this month has been one of particular growth for me as a VISTA. I have gotten to know many of the students at our Banneker site, and I have seen how much potential they have. One of my favorite moments this month was the opportunity to chaperone the sixth graders at Banneker as they traveled to a Hornets game. This was a reward for their increase of 0.5 in their GPAs. It was a very fun night and a great chance to spend time with the students outside of the typical Kedila classroom environment!
I hope that in my year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA I have and will continue to help these students achieve their potential. This experience has already taught me so much and helped me on my way to achieving my own potential. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve my community for a year as a Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA at Kedila Family Learning Services.