Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

That I feel as though every time I look up, another few weeks have passed and I’m that much closer to the end of my term.  Less than three months left…time to stop procrastinating on my sustainability binder, that’s for sure.

I met with my replacement Wednesday morning.  Assuming no problems arise, my friend will start as the AmeriCorps VISTA at Youth Rebuilding New Orleans in July.  In discussing possibilities with her and with William, I was struck by the thought that soon, YRNO won’t be my affair anymore.  This isn’t to say that I won’t recommend friends and volunteers to work there, and won’t do so myself from time to time, but it won’t be my domain.

 

Volunteers at our Hope St. House.  We still have plenty to do, but it’s coming along nicely.

 

Our house at 316 South Salcedo, before any work is done:

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to see the amount of work that needed to be put into this place without having seen it for yourself.  Business Tides groups have come out and helped us since then, as have a church group from New Hampshire and City Year workers.  Even Tulane VISTAs are coming tomorrow to finish painting, framing windows, and to start a deck in the back.  Even now, the house is immeasurably cleaner, prettier.  Better.

The house should be finished by the time I leave.  If we get particularly lucky, we will have found a teacher interested in purchasing it by that point as well, but if not then there will be one soon…and this is only one house, out of six that I’ve worked on in my four months here.  Knowing my boss, we’ll soon have another property to start on as well, just to keep us challenged.

And that’s what I’m going to pass on to the readers: a challenge.  I challenge anyone to point to a period in your life where you unequivocally made a difference in a community, took pride in your work, and made transcontinental friends.  For those of you left hemming and hawing, might I suggest becoming a VISTA?  I’m certainly glad that I did.

 

-Brian Templet, Tulane CPS AmeriCorps VISTA, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

 

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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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