Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Why I Can Be Thankful: NetWork Voluntours – Joey Couvillon

So I’ve grown up in the era of the internet. I remember coding in my first background to my Myspace profile over a decade ago. A girl named Christian helped me. She was a Katrina Evacuee and was staying with Ryan (her cousin, my friend). Social media has evolved since then. My newsfeed is packed with shared articles, memes, and gifs; all the ways we find humor, express concern, and daily happenings. 100happydaysOne status I see a lot is 100 days of happiness. Every day for 100 days you reflect on something that makes you happy and post about it on social media. Life is full of reasons to be happy, everyone has them. My friend Sonni would tell you that “happiness is a choice, not an immediate reaction.” I agree with her. Afterall, “tis the season!” And yet, the decision is easier for some than it is for others. I have been gifted a very privileged life and this fact never escapes me.

This past month, we (NetWork Voluntours) hosted an international group named ICEFAT (the International Convention of Exhibitors and Fine Art Transporters). icefat---15_22326981444_o
From the start, they wanted their project to center around art. Teddy worked his magic and set up projects at two locations: The Magazine Street Art Market and Cohen College Preparatory School. Mural painting, facility improvements, and passing out flyers made up most of the day for the volunteers.

When I reflect on ICEFAT, I’m captured with the choices available to them and how these would be less attractive to others. These thoughts are clear in my mind but hard for me to express vividly. Basically, I make distinctions between jobs based on how critical they are for survival. Once I’ve made the distinction, I turn to the conditions that lead to one choosing that job. Pertaining to ICEFAT, these people chose to work with art. img_6774_22779820840_oEven further, they chose to volunteer doing art projects. Art is not necessary for survival. It will not feed your children or give you shelter. The fact is that our society (speaking of 1st world countries) has grown so safe and Industrialized to such an extent, we may choose jobs that require us simply to be creative. Even further, we have the ability to choose to spend our time helping others.

Choices have come easy for me. I haven’t had to worry about sending money back home so my family can eat and have shelter, or waking up to explosions in the middle of the night because my neighbors bombed a sports arena across the world a week ago. This blog won’t make my point clearly or thoroughly enough but I can say that I am thankful. I am thankful that I have the ability to choose. I can choose to help others in need because all of my needs are met.

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