Fighting Poverty with Passion
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for all of the incredible people involved with Kedila’s After School Program. In addition to our Executive Director and After School Program Manager, Kedila has two fantastic new instructors, LyAnna Sanabria and Josh Ferguson.
Kedila is fortunate to work with Hands On New Orleans and have a wonderful Hands On New Orleans Volunteer Leader named Amna Aziz. Every Tuesday, Amna leads an enrichment activity that she designed. These activities range from art projects to storytelling and public speaking. My favorite enrichment activity was nutrition-based. The students were divided into teams and had to arrange various fruits into a fruit salad. Students were taught nutrition facts and health information about the fruits that they used. At the end, teams were judged based on their fruit salad’s presentation and how well they remembered the nutritional information.
We are thankful that our first newsletter came out this month! It was designed by our amazing Tulane intern Nina Takahashi! In addition to designing Kedila’s monthly newsletter, Nina has led our students in several fun, educational enrichment activities, including lessons on Japanese and Spanish culture. We are excited that one of our Loyola Service Learners has stepped up to become a Kedila After School Program intern for next semester. Additionally, we recruited two outstanding interns for next semester from Tulane at the Public Service Internship Fair.
Kedila is extremely thankful to all of our volunteers and service learners. Their one-on-one tutoring and assistance during the enrichment activities is truly appreciated. With their help, students in Ms. Sorenson’s class have improved their math performance from 10% below grade level to 2% above grade level.
I am thankful to Kedila for all of the lessons that I have learned thus far during my term as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Some skills are technical. I have learned how to write grants, manage websites, and create databases. Others are less tangible but just as important. These range from the difference individualized attention can make in the life of a second grader struggling to read to the importance of a role model in the life of a child. I have improved my ability to communicate with a wide range of community members, and after working directly with the students, I have become better able to understand and communicate Kedila’s mission and vision.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know many of the students we serve, and I feel blessed to work for Kedila this year.