Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Kedila Family Learning Services

I have always considered the month of May to be the beginning of summer.  Like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, I had “that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer” earlier this month.  With this renewal, I reflect on the fact that this year has been a time of great growth for Kedila and also for me, personally.

This year has matured me in ways I recognize and also in ways I have not yet grasped.  I have learned the importance of being optimistic and resilient, even when it seems that nothing is working, particularly with regard to grant writing.  I have learned that being open to new ideas and perspective is vital to learning and doing your best.  I have recognized the need for precise language, as words can have a different impact than intended.  I have opened my eyes to the needs of residents in this city as never before, and I have developed an understanding of the problems they face on a daily basis.  I have discovered how to better communicate with a variety of people.  I believe that my experiences this year will make me a more dedicated, compassionate physician.  The people I meet every day could someday be my patients, and I must be prepared to treat them.

I am very grateful for the Tulane Accelerated Physician Training Program, which has afforded me the opportunity to complete this year of service with Kedila through AmeriCorps VISTA.  I am also very fortunate to be a part of the Tulane VISTA network, specifically.  The professional development and support of the Tulane Center for Public Service has assisted me in my role this year.  Another tremendous blessing has been the friendships I’ve developed with the other Tulane VISTAs.  They are a truly outstanding group, and they have further helped me to grow.

On May 21, we learned that Kedila has been recommended for a contract from the Louisiana Department of Education for a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant.  This grant consumed much of the month of March for us, and I’m very excited that I was able to work toward such a meaningful award.  Once the contract is finalized, this grant will provide funding for Kedila’s After School and Summer Camp Programs for the next three years.  As a VISTA’s primary goals are “sustainability” and “capacity building,” I feel that I have definitely contributed to my organization.  The benefits of this grant will enable the Kedila staff to focus less on writing grants, leaving more time for programming and more long-term methods of fundraising.

Kedila’s Summer Camp Program begins on June 3, and this will be the seventh year of the Summer Camp Program at Benjamin Banneker Elementary and Middle School.  We will serve 200 students, Monday through Friday, with mornings dedicated to academics and afternoons dedicated to a variety of enrichment activities, including field trips.  Kedila will have two summer interns: Kamille Magee and Jessica Feigen.  Kamille is a psychology major from Michigan State University, and this is her first sojourn to New Orleans.  She describes children as her passion, and she is excited to help with the summer camp.  Jessica is a psychology major at Tulane University, who is looking forward to getting to know the children and building relationships with them to create the most fun summer camp possible!

Betsy May 2013

K-1st graders at Kedila’s Summer Camp got to be superheroes for a day through programming from the Louisiana Children’s Museum!

Please contact me (betsy@kedila.org) if you are interested in volunteering with our Summer Camp Program!

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About Tulane VISTA

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

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This entry was posted on June 11, 2013 by in Uncategorized, VISTA Field Reports.

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