Fighting Poverty with Passion
My name is Shang Wu and I’ll be the very first AmeriCorps VISTA working with Cafe Reconcile. I’m a recent graduate from Tulane University with a B.S. in Economics and a minor in Mathematics. I was born in Beijing, China and grew up in Louisiana (Baton Rouge and New Orleans). After living most of my life in the great Magnolia State, I’ve come to love it here. I hope to one day obtain my Master’s degree in Finance and preferably work as a financial literacy specialist.
Quickly after being accepted as a VISTA, people have asked me left and right, the same question: “Why do you want to serve?” The reasons are both simple and complicated. I’ve always grown up in a family where my parents valued respect and putting others before you. As I moved on in life, I quickly learned that I was in an upper-middle class family that had opportunities that many people did not. I also realized that it had nothing to do with what I did to deserve it or what other people have done to not be in the same position as me. Half-way through my college career, I decided to major in Economics. I learned that education is a large factor that determines a person’s success in life. After graduating from college, I wanted to take a break from school and spend my time in a meaningful manner through the means of serving the community that brought me up and taught me so many lessons. I realized that by being a VISTA, I was able to accomplish all of the above. I was truly able to use what I’ve learned and assist non-profits that shared a similar vision as I had.
A graduate trainer helping a student with schoolwork
But why Cafe Reconcile? I refer back to my knowledge in economics that for the best way to truly make an impact, I must be able to help people become self-sustainable. After researching Cafe Reconcile and interviewing with them, I quickly fell in love with their mission and the process they take to go about changing lives for the better. They teach students not only how to finish their education and get a job, but they also have a wonderful support system for students to be able to hold on to the job.
My comfy little work space
Quickly after starting at Cafe Reconcile, I was honored with an awesome desk with an even better view! I feel very privileged to be here and excited about all the work that will be able to come from this spot! Currently, some of my projects include:
I look forward to this next year and working with the awesome people in my office. Stay tuned for more updates!