Fighting Poverty with Passion
My name is Angellica Gordon and I am serving as a Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow at the Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA). My first day in the office of the BIA was defined by the rush and excitement generated from the anticipation of the fast-approaching Ribbon-cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening of the Arts and Wellness Center (AWC). My co-workers were still in the process of promoting the event when I started. So, my first assignment was to help get the word out by canvasing and flyering the Broadmoor neighborhood subgroups. Announcements concerning the Grand Opening were also featured on National Public Radio and on local news stations. Considering this, it was not a surprise that the event had a great turn out. Broadmoor residents along with politicians such as Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and former Senator Mary Landrieu attended the Grand Opening and participated in the festivities. The ceremony served as an open house for residents by allowing them to get a preview of the holistic wellness, educational, and artistic services offered at the AWC.
The AWC is located on the second floor of the Blessed Trinity campus and was formerly the St. Mathias Catholic School. It is an 11,500 squarefoot building that offers studio and workshop space for various instructors and aspiring artists. Additionally, the center offers office and meeting space for several organizations such as The Center for Restorative Approaches and Young Audiences. The site was the largest pieces of blight in this community so the development of the center is one of the most major eradication projects in the Broadmoor neighborhood . It also serves as a milestone for the redevelopment plan which was developed by the Broadmoor community in 2006 to rebuild Broadmoor after massive flood damage from Hurricane Katrina.
Following the excitement of the Grand Opening, I was even more eager to assume my role at the AWC as the “Wellness VISTA.” My position at the AWC includes managing the Broadmoor Food Pantry, collaborating with community partners for wellness programming, and connecting residents to wellness services provided by the BIA and our community partners. I look for to my year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at this organization and hearing about the experiences of other VISTAs in my program.
P.S. The AWC offers a lot of fun and informative classes for all ages so if you are ever in the neighborhood stop 3900 General Taylor St and check us out! Here is a link detailing some of the programs offered: