Fighting Poverty with Passion
Greetings! My name is Brianna Cunningham. My preferred name is Bri. My hometown is Philadelphia. I am a recent graduate of Bucknell University, who majored in Sociology and English – Literary Studies. Upon graduation, I decided that I wanted to join AmeriCorp. I wanted to join AmeriCorp because I felt like it was the right thing to do with my gap year. In my time at Bucknell, I participated in a variety of campus activities. Specifically, I had spent a lot of time doing service work. Because I made the decision to serve in my college career I was able to travel, network, and explore the nonprofit sector of work. What I had enjoyed most about serving was that I was able to get an out of the classroom learning experience. I contributed to building a healthy community and I acquired skills that would allow me make an impact on a number of different levels, not only in my time at Bucknell but also afterwards.
In the midst of searching through the AmeriCorp database, I came across the Tulane AmeriCorp VISTA program. After making the decision to apply and following through with two interviews, it was only shortly after hearing that I was accepted to the program that I’d find myself accepting the offer to be a supporting member of the Tulane AmeriCorp VISTA program in New Orleans.
The first time I came to New Orleans it was in the fall semester of college with Bucknell’s Katrina Recovery Team. Since 2005, Bucknell students have been coming New Orleans. Much of the work we have done consisted of clearing debris from flooded homes, and gutting or taking out the walls, cabinets and appliances, so that the buildings could be reconstructed from the base. With the help of organizations like the St. Bernard Project, Grow Dat Youth Farm and other nonprofit groups, we are all able to build new houses or refurbish damaged homes. I came to New Orleans a second time in the summer an in state study abroad program called Bucknell in New Orleans. In this time myself and other students were exposed to New Orleans culture, geography and people.
It feels great to be in New Orleans once again. I now have another place to invite my friends and family: New Orleans.