Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Youth Rebuilding New Orleans


That’s the sound ringing in my head these days with every YRNO grant victory.  This month, we won THREE more! The first from the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Pratt-Stanton Manor Fund will establish a new program to help seniors repair and rehabilitate their homes, a second from the Edward Wisner Donation will support our existing REbuild program, and the third from the Brown Foundation will continue funding a service learning initiative with partner high schools. I really can’t thank two people enough—fellow Tulane VISTA Sarah Edwards for her encouragement after my first five grant submissions failed, and the Funding Seed’s Nora Ellertsen for turning a grant writing dud into a stud with her professional development sessions!

As if all that isn’t enough good news, YRNO finally has a new construction manager—Joe Robert—whom I profiled on our web site today. We also have hot prospects for a teacher to buy one of our almost finished homes and for some new properties to develop.

Otherwise, things are relatively quiet at YRNO right now.  Our peak volunteer season has ended, so of course I miss schmoozing with folks from all around the country.  I’ve already started recruiting groups for 2015, including those who may be looking for a new place to stay due to the recent closure of Annunciation Mission’s lodging services.  I’ve also begun rounding up captains to submit videos for the 2014 Super Service Challenge, in hopes of being a big winner again.

On the Tulane VISTA beat, the transition to our new team is now complete.  Among the fresh faces is Alle Ehrhardt, my next challenger in the craziest selfie contest.  We made the showdown official with a shot outside Mulate’s, site for one of my FOUR free lunches this week. (No rest until I go a perfect five-for-five.) Meanwhile, my new roommate is fellow dream liver Tom Zolot, who has returned after a brief hiatus from the program.  It’s good to have him back and willing to put up with a nut on a daily basis. Lastly, I want to wish the best of luck to all those who’ve moved on, especially Natalie Wiggins, my City Church sister who’s headed back to her beloved North Carolina for an AmeriCorps position there.  Unfortunately, Miss Wiggins, your Panthers must go down and go down hard.  There can be only one NFC South champion.




This entry was posted on August 21, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.



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