Fighting Poverty with Passion
My second year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Center for Public Service at Tulane began with meeting the 22 people I will be spending the next 52 weeks with. The first month in the year service is a time of learning. Learning about the New Orleans community, its nearly 300 year history, and the non profits we will work with over the next year. I have high hopes for this year because we have a great group. Young people from New York, California, North Carolina, and hometown Louisianan’s will allow us to learn not just about New Orleans but cities and issues of poverty we have experienced across the country.
In our first professional development meeting this month, we watched The Line Documentary, which shares the stories of four people who live at or below the poverty line. New Orleans suffers from high poverty including 39% child poverty according to a recent report from the Data Center. We VISTA’s have a lot of work to do. New Orleans is actually a small city. Not in its population numbers, but how its people interact. People look out for one another, check in on one another, and make sure people are living alright . I hope our VISTA group will take on that New Orleans tradition, if none of the other many, many, great New Orleans traditions.
Every Sunday we VISTA’s hold a potluck. I was impressed by the cooking talents of a few people. Leeland’s cheesy bread, @jcoyle117 homemade ossum blossom, and Eve’s Grandmothers homemade New York Mac and Cheese no doubt topped the list. I look forward to learning more about everyone’s other talents and their path to AmeriCorps VISTA. What motivates us to join? How we can use the diverse non profits we serve with to collaborate and make systemic and lasting change?
This month brought in new faces but I also said goodbye to a great AmeriCorps VISTA, lifetime friend, and the best dancer in New Orleans bar none. @jstyczyn was a Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA for two years and his unrelenting optimism and energy will be missed. #whodat #jackieboy #goldmine #freefoodfriday #djrottenmilk
See you soon, Jack!