Fighting Poverty with Passion
New Orleans has been very welcoming – save getting around downtown (funky traffic patterns and broken public transportation schedules.) My first week here involved getting to know the city. Tulane’s Center of Public Service staff members gave a tour of the city introducing me to the concepts of Lake side and riverside – I miss south Philly, where you are south of the center of Philadelphia. Between my service orientation and training events, I didn’t make it to my site (APEX) until I had been in New Orleans for 6 days.
My first day at APEX was exciting and moving – the center is focused on providing a service that isn’t easily available to at risk youth – social interaction. Although I have been here for a month I am still learning the impact the center has in the Broadmoor community. After meeting the Fitzpatricks, the staff that run the place, I got to meet the community they serve. The reality of their position was somewhat overwhelming. Ill talk about this more as the year goes on. My first week at APEX also brought on a new exciting project. The Homegrown Harvest Music and Arts Festival presented by APEX Youth Center, became a reality. APEX is the sponsoring organization for this amazing cultural even scheduled for November 9-11th and even more exciting, several of the youth from the center will perform at it. They get to share the stage with legends of Louisiana music. Things were looking good. Then….
I didn’t evacuate. I helped at the 311 call center. Didn’t loose power. Got the new madden.
It took almost two full weeks before I was able to work back at the center again – this time was used for working from home – researching grants, writing them and developing a volunteer recruitment plan.
After power was restored back at the center I got to work on a Kids Cafe program to get food into the center for the kids – Nailed it. However now the Homegrown festival www.homegrown-fest.com looms. I am working on grants for both the festival and the center while coordinating 46 volunteers, including students in the Tulane Service Learning program and new volunteers that signed up at the Make a difference fair where Emily (my puppy) was the key recruiting tool.
All in all this first month serving as an Americorps VISTA has been challenging, exciting and mind boggling and I cant wait for more.