Fighting Poverty with Passion
The beginning of this week marks the sixth week that I have been serving at the Broadmoor Improvement Association as the Communications Coordinator VISTA. Being “thrown into the fire” is a wholly appropriate description of the first few days at the BIA back in July. The new Broadmoor Art and Wellness Center officially opened its doors on August 1st with a large ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house event. Although starting at this point was hugely overwhelming, it also gave me a great perspective on how the BIA and the new Arts and Wellness Center are impacting the community. I saw community members experience the center for the first time and I had the opportunity to speak to them about the new programs that would be provided. Mayor Landrieu, former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, and Council-member LaToya Cantrell attended the ribbon-cutting and spoke about the inspiration the neighborhood has created. The event left me with a great excitement and inspiration to start work on Monday.
As the Communications Coordinator, a major part of my VISTA Assignment Description is evaluating and updating the communications and marketing strategies in place at the BIA. So far, the largest part of this has been getting up-to-date on our different accounts and the content on each thus far. A second part of my responsibilities has been to create a database of BIA members. Since the opening of the Arts and Wellness Center, we have collected basic demographic information from each person who signs up for our mailing list. The database that I am working on compiles all of the demographics as well as class/program attendance records. The idea behind this database is that it will allow us to analyze the usage demographics of each class and to identify residents left out of our programming.
However, most of this work was sidelined the last couple of weeks as our office prepared for the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Saturday, August 29th. The BIA organized and hosted a day of activities to commemorate the event and my main role was to coordinate a media push and document the event. We hosted over 100 Outreach Tulane and community volunteers working on various service projects throughout Broadmoor in the morning. In the afternoon, the Church of the Annunciation hosted an Interfaith Prayer Service ending in a second line parade down Napoleon Avenue Wellness Trail. The participants gathering at Rosa F. Keller Library and continued into the night with the community art making, tie dyeing, a historic display, and the presentation of a commemorative video put together by one of our board members. Although, the day was exhausting, I really appreciated the way the community came together to commemorate the event. We ended the night with comments and speeches by residents about how far the community has come and how much we have left to accomplish. The anniversary marked a sober event, but I felt that the atmosphere was one of pride, hope, and inspiration.