Fighting Poverty with Passion
I guess it can’t always be sunshine and balloons.
The 24 hours after I returned from a great Thanksgiving trip to New York were definitely my roughest as a VISTA, headlined by the news that all the grant applications I worked on in recent months were denied. Obviously, the jury’s still out on whether my basketball writing skills will ever translate to grant writing success. Everybody knows how much I love being in AmeriCorps, so doing a good job means a lot to me, and failing YRNO really hurt.
Fortunately, the smiles returned a couple days later. With our Executive Director unavailable due to some pesky wedding thing (congrats Will!), I and my YRNO AmeriCorps colleague Abby Hall accepted an Outstanding Citizen Diplomat award from the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council on his behalf. It was a great night of networking and enjoying excellent (and free!) food and drink. I even got to give a brief speech, which was a thrill. We thank NOCDC and certainly look forward to continuing our relationship!
The next week, Abby and I were back out representing YRNO at the Cabrini High School Service and Mission Expo. We talked to students about volunteer opportunities and our Student Leadership Team. Special thanks to Adam Ganucheau for inviting us!
In the succeeding days, I was at three events with my Tulane VISTA colleagues. The first was a holiday party sponsored by the New Orleans Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, which included a session on careers in government and public service, featuring presentations from representatives of the Clinton School of Public Service and the Bush School of Government and Public Service. The second was our monthly service project, which we did with YRNO, helping out at the South Salcedo rebuild site! Last but not least was our Tulane VISTA All-Stars holiday party. Good times (and more free food) all around!
Before I left town again yesterday, I had a “white elephant sandwich,” with gift exchange parties at the Tulane Center for Public Service in the morning and YRNO in the afternoon. In between, my ED Will and I met with Teddy Nathan of CPS and Crescent City Connections. So maybe that actually means I had a “Teddy sandwich.” Anyway, we have high hopes that YRNO and CCC will be collaborating in the near future.
In other news since my last field report, I sent out YRNO’s quarterly e-mail newsletter, promoted our #GivingTuesday holiday fundraising campaign and voting for our Super Service Challenge videos in the “People’s Choice” award contest, and confirmed that we will have two student interns from Tulane for the spring semester to help build a historical photo section for our web site. We welcome Brandon Golant and Katie Morgan, both of whom approached me at the school’s internship fair last month.
In closing, I must ask, are y’all finally starting to believe that I’m the key to the Saints’ success? After this month’s thrashing of the Panthers, I’ve now attended 15 consecutive victories in the Superdome. I know my boy Bobby Hebert believes! And given the latest, I may need to take my show on the road. (Sponsorships graciously accepted…lol.)
WHO DAT! (and Merry Christmas, again from New York!)