Fighting Poverty with Passion
Time flies when you’re having fun!
My highlight from the past month was a Tulane VISTA roundtable hosted by Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, featuring Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer! It was definitely a thrill to share thoughts with an AmeriCorps VIP and see my Executive Director get an opportunity to spread the gospel of YRNO. Plus, I like anything that includes my fellow VISTAs, not to mention a free lunch.
On an AmeriCorps budget, two free meals are even better. I got that at the recent New Orleans Neighborhood Summit at UNO, where I attended a workshop on Navigating City Hall Online. Among the things I learned how to access there were the city calendar, the 311 knowledge base, blight status and property records, sanitation pickup schedules, public data sets and the One Stop app to search for permits and licenses. I “got my librarian on” and then broke out my inner professor too, since I was able to show off my new research skills at our latest Friday morning VISTA meeting. I may not yet be as expert with NOLA.gov as I am with NYC.gov, but give it time! Meanwhile, see if you can pick out my mug from WDSU’s coverage of the summit.
I also attended an internship fair at Tulane this month, with a totally different recruiting strategy than the last time I was trying to lure folks in for YRNO. A candy corn counting contest may have helped get 14 sign-ups in September, but it resulted in zero interns. So this time, I went with nothing but me, my newsboy cap and my smiling face. Only three sign-ups, but we’ve all but finalized getting two of them as interns for the spring semester. Lesson learned. Skip the gimmicks.
On the funding front, YRNO just got good news that we’ll be receiving grant money from the Edward Wisner Donation, pending review. And we’re in the last throes of submitting Super Service Challenge videos, which we hope will also prove financially fruitful.
Volunteer coordination at YRNO has been going somewhat more smoothly of late. Over the past month, we’ve been taking on side projects to make the best use of our seemingly endless pool of volunteers. This included a cleanup day for a church on Elysian Fields, an ongoing project on Alvar Street in the 9th Ward, and most impressively, a trip to Hahnville by Tulane student-athletes, who have now spent two Sundays with us this semester. Getting busy with them is a hoot!
In closing, I want to wish the fondest of farewells and best of luck to Lucy Rosenbloom, who finished up (survived?) her two years as a Tulane VISTA this week. We’ll miss you on Friday mornings, Lucy! And speaking of Tulane VISTAs, I want to thank all those who helped me celebrate my birthday last weekend and facilitated my standing up and getting crunk on the pool table of a fine uptown establishment.
Of course, a Saints-themed “boogie down” serves as the perfect segue to my monthly tag line, especially since I’ve added three more victories to my now 14-game winning streak (!!!) in the Superdome.
WHO DAT! (and Happy Thanksgiving from New York!)