Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Freret Neighborhood Center – Field Report


How did we get here?

I’ve just returned back to the Freret Neighborhood Center after a long winter holiday. We’re working to get back into the flow of things as we continue to deal with a leadership transition. I’m excited that programming has restarted; neighbors are stopping by for help with computers, faxing, and copying, and multiple programs for people of all ages will take place at Evan’s Park beginning next week. Our Tulane and Loyola volunteers and interns will return over the next few weeks, and we’re excited to see what our student helpers will bring to the table in the coming months. Some Obamacare representatives will be at the FNC to help neighbors navigate healthcare.gov and sign up before that dreaded February 15th deadline. All in all, we’re back at it.

Before the break, I was able to visit Washington, D.C. where I attended a Neighborworks Training Institute. This involved 5 days of workshops. There were a plethora of different classes to choose from; I attended a workshop on fundraising, one on social media, and one on marketing. Now, I’m not exactly one for sitting in a classroom all day — my undiagnosed ADD mixed with my love of fine pens that encourage doodling have often caused me to drift off if something isn’t completely grasping me — but I have to say that I truly feel like I benefited from these courses both personally and professionally. The fundraising course was alright — probably very beneficial for those attendees whose main focus is raising money and developing relationships. Many things I’ve learned from Nora / the Funding Seed workshops during our weekly Tulane VISTA meetings were reaffirmed and I did leave with a few new ideas. I found the other two workshops extremely interesting, as they were more aligned with my interests and strengths.
After two days of discussing ways to better raise funds for our organizations, I attended a workshop on using social media to tell our stories. While I consider myself relatively well-versed in most social media platforms (although Twitter is still somewhat of a mystery to me), I figured I might be able to take something back. I did — I found the instructor to be very insightful not only about how social media can be used effectively, but also about how organizations communicate.

The final workshop centered around branding and marketing. I found this course to be incredibly inspiring; I wanted to leave right then and there to begin working on all of these new ideas I was being presented with / coming up with as my mind reeled. As far as professional development goes, there was a moment where I sat back and reflected on what I have to offer to my nonprofit, to the causes I care about, and to the world. Over the past twelve years, I’ve had all sorts of different jobs — as a bookseller, as an Au Pair, as a teacher, as a designer — and I feel like, since beginning my term as a Tulane Americorps VISTA, I have been presented with new challenges and experiences that have caused me to be at peace with my strengths and talents, as well as the things I’m not so great at. I can only hope these months of self-reflection will lead me better apply my talents and abilities to create change and support the things I care about… but I’ll keep checking my horoscope. Watch this space.

I don’t have any new photos for the past month, so I’ll share some of my favorite moments from the past year!

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This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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