A little over a month has gone by here in New Orleans, and I can easily say that this city has already won me over. I have never been in a place that is so incredibly full of life and culture. Each street corner is brimming with history and a passion for life unlike anywhere else. As I reflect on what I have learned in the short time that I have been here, the first thought that comes to mind is the importance of community involvement.
With disasters like Katrina and the most recent floods of Baton Rouge occurring more frequently than one would like, it is no wonder the state of Louisiana has developed such a strong state identity and network of support. It barely took me a few weeks to feel a sense of belonging and a desire to support the people around me. My community service for this past month has been directed towards KIPP Leadership Academy in the Bywater. As a K-8th grade charter school, they are a part of the KIPP charter school network that was started after Katrina as a conglomerate of non-profit schools started by the public and directed towards the public. Though most of my work there has been administrative assistance, I hope to be working with the students soon. However, through my time spent there, I have seen just how hard these teachers work and how much every minute of my time there helps them. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help these teachers who are often under-appreciated, but who deserve a great deal of praise and respect for the incredibly important job that they do.
With September approaching, I am looking forward to continuing my studies, continuing my volunteer work, and continuing my exploration of this wonderful city. As the French would say, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"