Fighting Poverty with Passion
I have felt a deeper connection to New Orleans in the past two weeks than I have since arriving. We were waiting for our work stations to be set up at our new offices so we spent every day working out of different coffee shops around the city. Going to places I had never been like Church Alley, the Bean Gallery, Rook, and Fairgrinds were ways to explore and have witty banter with baristas. Each shop had a different transportation route which allowed me to take buses and walk streets I never have. With generous co-workers, I was able to try new restaurants including my first Thanksgiving Parkway Poboy! Seriously, it’s only offered Wednesdays in November. Cranberries, stuffing, turkey—it’s got the works.
This past weekend the Partnership for Youth Development and the New Orleans Kids Partnership co-convened the America’s Promise Alliance New Orleans GradNation Community Summit and it was a great success with nearly 130 individuals and community members who participated! The point of most pride for PYD was the nearly 1/3 young people who attended the Saturday solutions sessions. It was inspiring to hear from these current community leaders on how they define the world they hope to live in. The Rethinkers shined with spoken word performances and are always an impressive force. We had nine breakout sessions ranging from transportation to social innovation bonds and we will be sending out the results of our conversations. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to me.
The next month will be similar to the previous three. I will continue, as all VISTAs do, wearing many hats. I will work on up keeping social media and sending out monthly newsletters. I will continue serving my secretarial role for the Children and Youth Planning Board, the EMPLOY initiative, and YouthShift. I will work to secure Tulane interns to help with YouthShift Steering Committee community asset mapping. Much hinges on the next few months for the three initiatives we are working on. It is both exciting and interesting to see how the final two months of 2014 will dictate the entire 2015 year.