Think about what resources you had available to you growing up and how they facilitated some of your greatest moments of growth. Was it a basketball coach, and would this have been possible without the hoop? Or was it finally hitting that high note, and could you have done it without a reed? Or a character in a novel – that someone you could finally relate to – would you have found them without the book? Imagine going to a school every day without these small, but valuable resources.
In the wake of Katrina, the youth of New Orleans faced great instability in what will become of their city, their home lives, their families and even their schools. Despite all of the challenges our students have faced and face on a daily basis their resilience never seems to fail. This has however made our students acutely aware of their surroundings and any changes that occur in them. Nonetheless it still amazes me when I myself notice the difference in the students when they react to any positive changes that occur in their schools; no matter how seemingly small. Even the simple consistency of having an entire school painted in the same colors can provide the students with a sense of security that may not exist in other aspects of their lives.
Here we believe in the power of numbers and that when many people come together and give a little, you end up with a lot. Not only does our work help make the schools a safe haven but it enables volunteers from many communities to come to New Orleans, bear witness to the resiliency of the city, and to become the eyes and ears for her across the country.