Fighting Poverty with Passion
The month of May has been one of the busiest times I have ever experienced during my time here at A’s & Aces. Everything that I have been doing for the last two months have been slowly building towards the opening of our three camps at the beginning of June. During this month, I have been in charge of recruiting and filling up our last camp out in New Orleans East, Joe Brown Memorial Park. This has proven to be quite difficult since it is usually every applicant’s last choice, and the ones that do list Joe Brown Memorial Park as their first choice, fail to submit a fully completed application. So, it usually comes down to me calling each applicant and hounding them for missing pieces of their applications, which can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to get any results.
On the other hand, I still get around 10-15 phone calls a day regarding our two camp sites that are already completely full. At one point, I could still be half asleep when a parent calls and still recite the right information without actually thinking about what was asked: it’s usually the same questions over and over again. Every once in a while, I get an angry parent that is quite upset that their child did not get into the camp of their choice. I have gotten threats of being reported to the city among other things, but it can also range as far as lengthy emails that plead for a spot with multiple sob stories. Regardless, my answers would remain the same: we simply cannot accept any more kids at our camps, please try again next year around March.
We also had several book distributions at Mildred Osborne Elementary and all the kids that we program with at ARISE Academy. This was pretty simple to pool off, but moving 14 large boxes of heavy books up a 3 story school without an elevator proved to be quite the workout.
Towards the end of the month, most of the things regarding summer camp started coming together. I was able to secure swimming schedules and transportation services for our weekly camp field trips as well as solidifying the feeding program with Sodexo. We also planned for a USTA sanctioned 8s and 10s tournament at Joe Brown Memorial Park for May 31st, but the weather had its own plans. With rain coming down non-stop, there was no way we could dry the courts and play. We decided to cancel the tournament all together. On the bright side, we had a service project with Evacuteer for our project for May. We volunteered as civilians being evacuated out of the city through the bus/air system meant for 10,000 New Orleanians. I decided to have a little fun with it. So, my wristbands that are used to identify each civilian were under the names Don Draper and George Clooney. The whole evacuation process had so many moving parts. It was quite impressive to see how everything worked with minimal confusion/difficulties.