Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: YMCA Educational Services (YES!)–Stephanie

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Since my last post, we held our open house with relevant success. There was a period of panic a couple of days prior to the event when the printing company, who was making our tri-folds, had a massive backlog due to their machines malfunctioning. Luckily, we already had a local company printing our photos, so we tacked on a small rush order of the tri-folds and got them the same day. The original order ended up being delivered the day after our event. Lesson learned: order weeks in advance even if the company has the word “Overnight” in their name. Aside from this little snafu, we had a decent turnout! Even a few City Council members and their assistants attended (City Hall is right across the plaza from the library so they hardly had an excuse!). All in all, it was a great opportunity to build stronger relationships with benefactors, city government, and other organizations. It was also the perfect photo opportunity.


East New Orleans Regional Library

In other news, YES! will be expanding and focusing more of its resources and services at the library in New Orleans East, an area naturally and unnaturally sectioned off by canals where we have seen more and more students are relocating. For those who are unfamiliar: New Orleans East was originally developed in the 1960’s in typical suburban fashion. However, in recent decades, the area has suffered disinvestment and urban decay, even more rapidly post-Katrina. With skyrocketing rent and the decimation of subsidized housing throughout the city (i.e., gentrification), many long-time residents have been pushed to the outskirts and beyond which equates to a longer commute to work, their children’s schools, and to us over here at YES!. Although this revamped YES! location is up and running in New Orleans East, the programming and staff are slightly different so many of our students still make the journey to the Main Library.

Ramping up

With the Open House behind us, our focus returns to the YMCA Corporate Cup: Second Line for Literacy 5k, which is quickly approaching next month. Sponsorships are viscously oozing in like sap (not even honey– I said sap), which continues to build anxiety but we have some hope.

I took a long shot and wrote my first sponsorship request (with plenty of help) through one of those company portals, so we’ll see how that turns out! Since my last post, I was able to build interest for a tent order from a physical therapy practice, but confirmation and payment are another thing. All in all, things are slowly but surely coming together.


Lately, I have been running around town plastering our posters where I can find space. I’ve also successfully reached out to a handful of neighborhood associations to request to speak during their meetings about YES!, but also to promote Corporate Cup where possible. In late September, I tabled at a “Race Roundup” event during a local running club’s weekly run which coincided with the packet pickup for another race. I handed out race discounts amongst others who were promoting their races so it was very much a waiting game trying to lure people over to my table.

Adventure Time and Disappointment

I recently made the arduous 13-hour drive to and from Durham, NC to visit the Duke Lemur Center for a special tour (with a co-pilot one-way and without one coming back). The purpose of the trip was a bust; however, I was able to pick up some treasures I found at the Raleigh Flea Market and a nearby estate sale. The morning of my scheduled Walking with Lemurs tour, it started pouring rain with lightning and booming thunder. It was an ill-timed and unfortunate circumstance and so I vow to return for the third time next year so that I can walk with the beloved lemurs.

Happy 10th Day of Halloween!



This entry was posted on October 10, 2016 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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