|August was a good month; super hot weather, slower pace at the office, friends’ birthdays, beginning of Saints season, very little to worry about on the volunteer front, and the Dream Team of Bernie and Lindsey. Yes, that’s right. For the entire month of August, the Green Light “staff” consisted of Bernie- our Program Manager- and myself! We make an awesome team, and I think we did a pretty great job of getting things done for Green Light.
There were a few highlights of the month…Bernie and I prepared for the arrival of Green Light’s new AmeriCorps*NCCC team, which meant I was put in charge of the search for housing. This was a lot of fun- until the very end when it became stressful- because Beth (my roommate) is about to move out and I want to move too, and I got to pretend that I was looking for housing for myself for a short while. I mean, come on, looking at different apartments is always fun!The month was also a lot of fun because Bernie and I decided to designate Wednesdays to working out-side of the office at various local coffee shops. -Lindsey Roper, AmeriCorps VISTA
Posts Tagged ‘Saints’
Tags: AmeriCorps NCCC, Green Light, Saints, volunteer
Tags: Alliance for Affordable Energy, co-workers, employee, Mardi Gras, Ode to Ignatius, program, Saints, Smithsonian Institute, volunteer
|Dear Reader,A great writer is the friend and the benefactor of his readers.
Another working day has ended, honest reader. As I told you before, I have succeeded in laying a patina, as it were over the turbulence and mania of our office. All non-essential activities in our office are slowly being curtailed.
At the moment, I am busy beautifying the eye-sore of a welcome center. At first sight, the scene of which met my eyes was both compelling and repelling. The cold, dank welcome center was decorated with the blight of volunteer recognition, stale weekly messaging, and the obscure invitation of a hapless (and senile) japanese office plant. Inviting to only the depressed and disqualified. There are three b’s which describe most aptly my actions as an office employee: banish, benefit, and beautify; thus the approach taken with my new volunteer welcome center.
If only the Smithsonian Institution, that grab-bag of our nation’s refuse, could somehow vacuum-seal the Alliance for Affordable Energy’s office aesthetic and transport it to the capital of the United States of America; the model of nonprofit functionality. The Art Egg building for which it is housed is a large, barn-like structure that carries the ghosts of an old dairy warehouse. I’ll have you know, dear reader, the conversion of a dairy warehouse into art studios, although artistically surreal, does not bode well for the tenets in winter. I find myself wrapped in three layers of clothing, conserving my own kinetic energy in this leaky ice chest of a building; this reduces worker productivity as well.
I do admire the tenacity of my office co-workers on occasion. However, our independent drive for conquest on our various topics of expertise leaves the outreach process ill-equipped at times. This would make for good water cooler conversation during morning breaks, except I find myself the only one drinking from the water cooler most days.
Volunteer help is productive on occasion, except I fear they may be catching on to my schemes of coy manipulation. I only do this to hide the programatic inadequacies for which I refuse to admit. Nevertheless, my newest contribution to the volunteer program is define the programatic philosophy instead fabricating real work. This new invention matches volunteer skills and interest with institutional needs; this saves me humiliation, but contributes positively to restoring programatic face.
Health note: No major issues; survived the Mardi Gras/Saints festivities.
Social note: No major issues; recovering from the Mardi Gras/Saints festivities.
Until next time,
Matthew Sweeney, working boy at arms (Ode to Ignatius)
To learn more about the Alliance for Affordable Energy, visit their website at: http://www.all4energy.org/
Tags: AmeriCorps VISTA, French Quarter, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, PSO, Saints, Tulane, who dat
|My first two weeks living in New Orleans can be summed up by one simple phrase: “WHO DAT?!”You can’t escape “WHO DAT?!” Seem a little quiet on Bourbon Street? Might be time to yell “WHO DAT?!” What if you’re stopped at a red light on St. Charles Avenue? As good as time as any to roll down the window and holler a “WHO DAT?!” In the checkout line at the Rouses Supermarket with a King Cake in hand? Again, a friendly “WHO DAT?!” is applicable.It was impossible not to get caught up in Saints mania. After the victory was assured, my roommate Nick and I went down to the French Quarter to take everything in. I must confess that I didn’t feel the overwhelming joy like everyone else did (I am, after all, a recent transplant, and my football affiliations sadly still lie elsewhere), but I am so incredibly happy for everyone that night that was celebrating. The Saints mean something to the people of New Orleans, something I can’t put into words, and for one night, everyone forgot about their individual worries and troubles and simply came together. Above all, I think my sincerest and biggest hope is that after my time with AmeriCorps is through, I, too, will be able to feel a similar connection to the City.
The following Tuesday, Nick and I left for our AmeriCorps Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The days were filled with training seminars, and the nighttime was ours to get to know other VISTAs who were beginning their years of service. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not keen on icebreakers or team building exercises (human knot, anyone?), but PSO was actually a lot of fun. Our facilitator did an excellent job of turning the material into activities that were both fun and informative. I am now sufficiently pumped for the year ahead, and I can’t wait to get started at Tulane and City Hall.
Returning to New Orleans, everyone was still buzzing about the Saints. The good vibes of the SuperBowl win then carried into one of the best (and safest) Mardi Gras in years. Mardi Gras was a blast, too, and I enjoyed seeing some of the parades with a few of the new friends I have made here. And, yes, “WHO DAT?!” continues to be shouted even today, nearly two weeks after the big win. No one is quite sure when it will stop. One thing is clear: the people of New Orleans finally got a much-needed answer to their question. It is, resoundingly, “WE DAT!” – Nick Solari, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
To learn more about the City of New Orleans Office of the Mayor Volunteers in Government Program (VIGOR), visit their website at: http://www.cityofno.com.
Tags: beads, challenges, French Quarter, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, opportunities, parade, Saints
|A New VISTA Reporting
“Arriving in New Orleans on the eve of the Saints’ first SuperBowl bid and during Mardi Gras presents what might drily be called Challenges & Opportunities.The Challenges are mainly logistical. Getting to a grocery store in a new city is hard enough without the added complication of closed streets and closed grocery stores. Questions about directions have a fifty-fifty chance of being asked to someone holding a pocket guide to New Orleans in one hand and a newly-purchased bead bag in the other. They don’t know where anything is.
The Opportunities, however…oh my. French Quarter post-SuperBowl victory? Thrill of catching one’s first Mardi Gras beads thrown from a tractor-drawn wonder wagon? Watching a man covered head to toe in green spandex breakdance in front of the giant speakers of shoe-store employee rappers on Canal Street? Listen to a 16-year old explain how she’s headed to the casino to meet her parents? At 11 AM on a Sunday? Share a bottle of wine with new friends along a parade route?
I worry the city might seem boring after all this introduction. Then I have one of those moments, so rare in today’s hyper-connected world of social media, 24-hour news and banner ads pulled by airplanes—as if the sky is the Internet!—one of those moments where I stop and look at the amazing things around me and realize, in one brilliant paparazzi-flashbulb moment of Lady-Gaga’s-crazy clarity, that I am an idiot.” -Nick Poggioli, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
|I had been warned far, far in advance that once Mardi Gras season arrives (because it is its own season), the city grinds to a halt. And I have learned that it is not just traffic that people were referring to. I tend to set up my own deadlines and my own benchmarks that don’t take into account occasional holidays.
However, when a holiday lasts nearly a month… I am surprised I haven’t pulled all of my hair out trying to keep the pace that I set for myself. Productivity decreases, emails aren’t returned, attention spans are short when it comes to work, long with it involves either a krewe or the Saints. However, next year I vow to approach the month of February quite differently. Instead of trying to keep pace with my own work-metronome, I’ll try to match my stride with the city’s.
To learn more about The Green Project, visit their site at: http://thegreenproject.org
Tags: farmers, gardeners, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Saints, students, urban
|“This has been exciting time to be living in New Orleans, and witnessing the New Orleans Saints shed their long reigning title as the Aints. It’s been hard to get work done with everything going on in the city regarding the Saints and Mardi Gras. Now that the festivities are coming to an end, it’s time to get back to work. New Orleans Food and Farm Network is currently distributing their urban gardeners’ directory called, The Growing Back to Our Roots Directory.The directory will be a profile of the many people who are currently growing throughout greater New Orleans, and it will also list the farmers markets where producers can sell their yields. The directory is an exciting opportunity to see how many growers there are in the area, and also see what types of methods and practices are being used to grow in an urban environment.
Also, as the weather begins to warm up so does the maintenance of the gardens. In March, a number of college students from out of town are going to be volunteering with NOFFN throughout the city where they will be working in different urban farms. They will be helping to get the gardens ready for planting and doing the necessary renovations for spring.” -Brendan Connery, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
To learn more about the New Orleans Food & Farm Network, visit their site at: http://noffn.org/