Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Youth Rebuilding New Orleans


It’s party time at YRNO! We’ve learned that we’re winners of $78,000 in the Super Service Challenge—almost double our haul from last year—and we’re still eligible for the grand prize to be announced next week. I feel great for having done my part in rounding up captains and spearheading our voting campaign, but the most credit goes to our Program Manager Sam Stephens, who spent months pumping out more than 150 volunteer videos. (God help whomever our obsessed boss puts in charge of surpassing that record next year.) The big news was especially welcome a day after another one of our construction sites was burglarized. Karma came to us and hopefully karma is coming to the thieves too.

Overall, it was a superb month for cash flow at YRNO, as we also sold a house and took in $4,250 from our holiday giving campaign, not to mention what we got in bunkhouse revenue and volunteer donations.

It was a memorable Martin Luther King Jr. Day at YRNO, with nearly 60 volunteers from Sci Academy, Tulane, Loyola, Dillard, Xavier and two local Catholic parishes joining me and my AmeriCorps colleagues Kyle Cousans and Sandy Stibitz for a service event at our St. Ann Street properties.   Those on hand cleared debris from our lots and took part in a community cleanup of the surrounding neighborhood.  And as if that weren’t enough, WWL-TV featured us on its newscast that evening.  I again thank Bill Capo for continuing to tell our story and Lindsey Rousselle Andry of Gambel Communications for her impeccable publicity skills.

Tons more fun with my Tulane VISTA peers this month, including outings to The Tasting Room for Beau’s birthday, Tracey’s for the Packers fans in the bunch (sorry, cheeseheads!), Palace Café with the lovely Cards Against Humanity co-champion, and Handsome Willy’s.  Halfway through my second term, I realize there’s nothing I’m going to miss more than hanging with these fine folks on the regular.

As I continue to contemplate my post-AmeriCorps career, I recently began applying and interviewing for jobs, with a goal of having zero days of unemployment between VISTA life and whatever constitutes my next chapter. Among the positions I’ve sought thus far are administrative assistant, communications assistant, production assistant, sports talk host, talent coordinator and library technician, all of which I believe are good fits for my personality and experience. Most of the prospective employers are in either New Orleans or New York. I love both places, so may the best city win (me)!

On the subject of New York, I spent two weeks there over the holidays, which included Christmas with the family, lunch and bowling on New Year’s Day, dinner at Jack’s Oyster House, plenty of college basketball (including witnessing Villanova’s first loss of the season…ugh!), a night watching football with my college roommate, Sunday morning service at Times Square Church and a great day celebrating my friend Maya’s return to the Big Apple after two-plus years working in Hong Kong. Welcome back!!!

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This entry was posted on January 21, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.

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