Fighting Poverty with Passion
Getting into the Swing of Things
I cannot believe how quickly my time is flying. I am glad to have joined the New Orleans Outreach team prior to the start of the school year for the seven New Orleans Outreach partner schools. Getting to see the unfolding of the beginning of the school year and the start of afterschool programming has been an eye-opener. I always knew how important volunteering was, but volunteers are vital to the success of the schools. As the supervisor of special projects, I get to help organize and oversee one-day projects, such as school beautifications. Since my last blog entry, I have overseen multiple projects and had the privilege of meeting wonderful volunteers.
Loyola University sent a group of about forty freshmen to Samuel J. Green Charter School to help with a variety of large to small scale projects. The students were able to accomplish so much that day and experience the unique afterschool programming that Green Charter School offers it children. Outreach Tulane sent groups of twenty students to three of our schools, and despite the torrential downpour that went on throughout the day, the students helped with the outdoor projects. This past Sunday, a group of NCCC AmeriCorps volunteers and members of Tulane University’s Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity came out to Langston Hughes Academy to build the sustainable, edible garden that will be used by the scholars for study and afterschool gardening.
Besides supervising special projects, I am also working with the internship program. This is a program that I hope to build stronger by the time my VISTA year is over. This program is in its beginning stages and I hope to see it blossom in the next few weeks. I have found that speaking with other individuals that have an internship program is very useful. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. This is something that I have tried to keep in mind during my short tenure with New Orleans Outreach. There is much that I wish to accomplish with my time as a VISTA, and I do not want to waste valuable time reinventing what someone has previously done. I would rather use my time to benefit New Orleans Outreach and its partner schools.
I am excited for how much I will be learning during my time as a VISTA. I know I made the right decision in choosing VISTA instead of a “bland” first job out of college. There are so many skills that can be gained from this program. Also, I do think working with schools is very rewarding. I am so happy that students are starting to recognize me by name at my base school (Langston Hughes Academy)! – Elizabeth “Betsy” Lopez, AmeriCorps VISTA
Visit New Orleans Outreach, to learn more about the Outreach program and volunteer opportunities in your area.