Fighting Poverty with Passion
This past month has been great. YouthShift has been working hard on our Call for Connection release on December 15th detailing the collaborative’s work over the past three years and the action steps we as a community need to take to improve outcomes for young people. I will share much more about this project and my experiences in my next blog post.Here is our committed team in action!
Much of my work is around communications and community outreach. I can share a few of my favorites from the past few weeks!
Earlier this Fall, Baptist Community Ministries, launched the New Orleans Youth Program Quality Pilot. Through the work with YouthShift, leaders of more than 60 child and youth-focused organizations have identified increasing program quality as a key driver to improve outcomes for children and youth in the areas of health and well-being, economic stability, learning, space and place, safety and justice, and youth voice. Research has shown that high-quality out-of-school-time programs that incorporate positive youth development can have positive effects on young people’s attitudes toward school, social behavior, academic performance, and long-term success.
This is a significant step for the New Orleans community to not only provide holistic supports to young people but making sure those supports are of high quality. It has been inspiring to see so many youth serving organizations and non-profit professionals using the same tools and speaking in the same language. New Orleans is full of committed child and youth champions and through my interactions with them over the past two years, I have learned lessons and knowledge I will always carry with me.
A powerful event I went to this month was the Youth Transition fair at Sci Academy where students could learn about supports and opportunities available after high school. State agencies, service providers non-profits, local universities, community colleges, and the K-12 staff who help students navigate these institutions were present. The particular focus was on students with 504 or IEP plans meaning learning or developmental disabilities. Seeing such diverse institutions working in tandem and making life easier for young people and their families to navigate complex systems was great and will hopefully lead to more youth and families accessing services they need.
Propeller held their PitchNOLA: Education event which, in partnership with 4.0 schools, looks for concrete solutions that can make a big difference for under served New Orleanians and increase equitable education outcomes. This event was different because I had a friend presenting on her project, Nola GO! from the New Orleans Kids Partnership. As usual, she nailed her speech and ended up splitting the first place prize, 3000 dollars!
Part of AmeriCorps service is you get to work alongside amazing people. Hopefully, you are pushed to do better from seeing others succeed. I was inspired by Alex and know that with hard work and courage, you can accomplish remarkable things.
One thing I love about being a Tulane Center for Public Service AmeriCorps VISTA is having our team to support one another. Nearly every week there is an event at one of our organizations that we all volunteer at. Highlights this month were the Friends of Lafitte Greenway Soiree and the Project Homecoming Pro – Ho – Ho. Besides the obvious benefit of getting free food and access into amazing events, these opportunities are networking goldmines (snuck that in for you Jackie Boy) and ways to ensure non-profits have successful fundraisers to secure the money to make the positive change they hope for. I can’t count how many fundraisers, soirees, and community events I have been a part of over the last two years and they remain among my favorite VISTA memories. Shout out to Joey Couvillon on being the best Santa East of the Mississippi.