Archive for the ‘Hurricane Katrina’ Category

Changing New Orleans One Child at a Time, Part II

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

As part of our “Back to School in New Orleans” campaign, this is the second in a series of short anecdotes about the children helped by one of our partner organizations, New Orleans Outreach and the volunteers and partners they utilize that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of one – or thousands – of children each day.

The New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy (Sci Academy), a new high school that opened last year, focuses on preparing its students for college success.  Often students enter the 9th grade years behind academically, but they persevere.  They want to graduate from college and then change the world.  These are big goals. 

Arianna is an Outreach tutor who has been working one-on-one with a Sci Academy 9th grader who is learning to read.  This student worked hard all year on her reading skills and has advanced her reading level by years in just one school year.  Even with all the improvement she has made she continues to push herself.  Arianna is so committed that she has created special flash cards that meet the specific needs of this student to supplement the curriculum.

Outreach staff talked with this student recently about her reading abilities.  She is excited about her ability to read so much better than when she first started at school.  And what about her work with Arianna?  Our student thinks her tutor is “real good, and helps me learn.”  A few weeks ago, we saw this student in a summer class.  She was asked to read aloud, something that might be unnerving for someone who is only just learning to read.  Not this student.  She carefully opened her book.  She read aloud with pride and perfection, her confidence and poise inspiring to everyone in the room.  Her life has changed. 

 So has Arianna’s.   She plans to start her own reading group in the neighborhood where she lives.  Both of these young women will change the world, in part because of New Orleans Outreach.

Thanks to you, we have raised thousands of dollars for this wonderful organization over the last two weeks – and will continue to raise funds for them through late September. We encourage you to find out more about the “Back to School in New Orleans” campaign here.

Changing New Orleans One Child at a Time, Part I

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Four years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina changed the landscape of the entire city of New Orleans. It left a path of devastation in its wake that even now, years later, is still visible.
 
As we remember this week all that once was and all that has happened since, we ask you to think about all that can be.  KNOW that we have a long way to go but RECOGNIZE the progress we have made.
 
So many have done so much to help New Orleans rebuild.  One person can make a difference.  One person acting in concert with many, many others can make the impossible possible. And, in fact, there are many out there who as one person have made a great difference in the lives of children living in New Orleans.

As part of our “Back to School in New Orleans” campaign, this is the first in a series of short anecdotes about the children helped by one of our partner organizations, New Orleans Outreach and the volunteers and partners they utilize that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of one – or thousands – of children each day.

Colby, a second grader at one of the schools  touched by New Orleans Outreach, decided he wouldn’t participate the salsa dancing class that Outreach offered because he thought it was “too girly.” He had heard his family ridicule boys who danced and he didn’t want to risk their disapproval.   Seeking a creative solution, our school Outreach coordinator offered Colby the position of salsa class sketch artist to document the class and his classmates’ performance. He showed up for class every day, dutifully drew pictures, detailing the movements of his classmates and writing out the rhythm used in the dances.

After about a week of watching his classmates and seeing how much fun they were having, he came to our coordinator and the salsa teacher and said,
 
“I think I’m ready to try it.” He jumped into the class with both feet and lots of rhythm, moving to the music with his second grade girl partner like a pro. At the end of the semester Colby was chosen as one of the top dancers in the class and got to participate in a special performance. His mom rushed up to him after the performance, beaming with pride, and told him how proud she was of him. Colby beamed right back.
What difference can you make in the life of a child this week?