Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

This month, I took a trip in my time machine.

For starters, being in my second VISTA term at YRNO automatically means I’ve begun to re-live moments, such as at the recent Tulane Making a Difference Service fair, where I tabled again this year. But beyond that, I even spent a morning with Project Homecoming as part of Outreach Tulane.  “ProHo” is the rebuilding organization where I had been volunteering before I joined AmeriCorps, made many friends and have beaucoup great memories.  It was awesome to return for my August service day, working on a house in the 9th Ward under the supervision of Jason Chao.  Big thanks to fellow Tulane VISTA Krishna Pandya for scheduling me! (And may I add, Project Homecoming’s second annual waterslide party was once again tremendous yesterday. Can’t wait for the third!)

I enjoyed some more direct service working on a house for YRNO as well. September 12th was the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, and the Tulane VISTA crew spent several hours volunteering at one of our renovation side projects in Mid-City. Afterward, we met in Duncan Plaza outside City Hall to re-take the AmeriCorps pledge.  Best of all, we were treated to Parkway po’ boys for lunch and a pizza party at Angeletto’s to close our monthly service day! #obligatoryfreefoodmention

On the subject of AmeriCorps friends, I have two new ones at YRNO, Eliza Fields and Sandy Stibitz, who are our latest Youth Engagement Coordinators at local high schools. I had an especially fun time interviewing both for a profile I wrote on them.  We also went bowling with the whole YRNO staff, where Team Office bested Team Construction two games to none, with my ever-smooth delivery leading the way.  This was part of a week of staff bonding and professional development, when I also gave a presentation on volunteer coordination, communication and consistency.  Feel free to ask our crew about the benefits of making lists and setting the alarm clock for 7:20, not to mention drinking two fisted.

I’m not sure my supervisor Will Stoudt loved that last part, but I hope he does love the article I just finished on him. It’s long overdue and I hope it results in much deserved good publicity for the “mayor” of YRNO. #like40under40

On the schmooze beat, I had the pleasure of greeting two groups sent to YRNO by the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council, one from Israel that wanted an orientation and then another yesterday that volunteered with us. Conversing with folks from around the world is always a blast!

One more shout out goes to the Tulane City Center, where I attended two workshops this week, the first on volunteer orientation organized by Teddy Nathan of the Center for Public Service and then another on grant writing at our regular Friday VISTA meeting—two topics certainly applicable to my YRNO duties. The City Center is housed in a great new meeting space and architecture guru John Coyle is the resident VISTA.

Finally, the Saints got off to a slow start this season, losing their first two games on the road, but of course, with my return to the Superdome for the 2014 home opener today, they got back on track with a win over Minnesota. #16straightwithmeinthehouse



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


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