Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights – Sarah Edwards

VISTA

Sarah Edwards

When I began my VISTA term at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, the organization was called Juvenile Regional Services. They were in the middle of a re-branding campaign, and on my first day, I was instructed to dive into the chaos. My director requested that I sit in on a meeting with our contracted designer who was presenting options for a new logo. The meeting was very Madmen-esque – from the designer’s retro clothing patterns to the idea boards that he talked us through. The proposed logos were introduced with a depth of symbolism that nearly matched Don Draper’s notorious soliloquies.   

But I digress.

Three months and many late nights of work later, the re-branding is now complete. We have a new name, a new logo, a new website, and a newsletter. And I have a new appreciation for nonprofit management and leadership, and a new understanding of what a “regular” workday in a nonprofit office means (the 9-5 is all an illusion). Yesterday, I erased my calendar from the last month and when I started to draw up the August-September schedule, was stunned (but more like relieved) that for the first time, I didn’t have fifteen projects to mark it up with. Where do I go from here?! 

LCCR lawyers address youth at a 'Know Your Rights" workshop

LCCR lawyers address youth at a ‘Know Your Rights” workshop

To back up a little, let me explain LCCR: is the juvenile public defender in New Orleans. After press coverage exposed the abuses of children behind bars and the truth of their less than half-hearted representation (if one can call it that) in front of a judge, the juvenile defense office was turned into a nonprofit organization. It then had the independence and flexibility to raise outside funds and implement its own defense model – the holistic advocacy model, which guarantees every indigent child arrested in Orleans Parish will be represented by an attorney, a youth advocate, an investigator, and a social worker. That is the core of the office’s mission, but LCCR also works on juvenile justice reform and provides professional training and resources for juvenile public defenders across the state.

Now that the rebranding campaign is complete, it’s beginning to feel like a whole new series of projects will crop up. More on that next month!

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

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