Students volunteer through Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

The Ole Miss Stamps Leadership Scholars recently teamed up with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans for a day of service and team building. Volunteers for YRNO help rebuild distressed and foreclosed homes, which are then sold to teachers in an effort to stabilize neighborhoods and positively impact the education system.

Featured below are photos and quotes from the Scholars about this experience:

“Our world tends to think of problems for as long as they’re in the news: education is in crisis when new statistics on the achievement gap are released, minorities suffer police brutality when a homeless man is shot in Skid Row, and obesity is only an epidemic every couple of months when Congress holds a hearing. But these things are constant issues people live with day in and day out- like the continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. I brought my fellow Stamps Scholars home with me to explore the city of New Orleans and to learn about the legacy of Katrina through service to a neighborhood still fighting it’s way back after the storm, Midcity/Bayou St. John. The Stamps Foundation goes beyond providing us with the financial resources to serve; it gives us a community of students who challenge each other to better use our gifts and who support each other as we strive to be agents of change. Our trip provided us with the opportunity to become a more close-knit group while engaging issues that are important both to the community and many Scholars– sustainable and equitable housing and disaster recovery.”
~Kathryn James

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

“We were given the task of bonding as a group, so we decided to take a road trip to New Orleans to work together to rebuild a home in Mid-City that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina. It’s truly amazing how service of others can bring together so many different personalities and create such a unique bonding experience. We were there to rebuild a house, but we were really building up our cohesion as a group just as much. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to get to know my fellow Stamps Scholars a little better, and I am grateful to the Stamps Foundation for bringing together this group of people and giving us the means to partake in enriching experiences such as this.”
~Page Lagarde

Stamps Scholars

 

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

“This was actually my first time going to that part of Louisiana, and I had never experienced New Orleans like I did on that day. I’ve always felt a strong connection with helping people obtain a place to live. I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because I’ve considered myself fairly lucky, always having a secure and established place to grow up. I just feel like these kinds of service opportunities fly under the radar but have such a great goal: helping people obtain a place to live from a building that has been demolished from storm damage. The Stamps Foundation has been extremely charitable during my time at Ole Miss, and having the chance to take this trip was honestly life-changing.
We as scholars within the Ole Miss community were able to better understand each other, what we each hoped to accomplish here at the University, and elsewhere in the world. The trip gave us a chance to really communicate with each other in a way that we had never done so before. In addition, thanks to the wonderful planning of Kathryn James, we were able to experience a truly incredible service opportunity that gave back to the heart of the community by working towards providing a safe haven for a family seeking shelter. This experience reached beyond any home-building experience I had in the past. This involved work in the heart of a region that had obvious recovery efforts in effect. I can say without a doubt that this work had a positive influence on how I view the future of New Orleans as far as the rebuilding efforts are concerned. I hope that the community returns to the cultural and social norms that it had before any disasters struck. Most importantly, I hope that we were able to make it possible for a family to continue their life again in a place that may not have been habitable in the past.
 
My wish from this experience is for more college-aged students to be able to experience a rebuilding project like ours. Being in the heart of the New Orleans’ neighborhoods really helped to put my life in perspective and helped me realize how truly lucky I am to have what I have.”

~Dylan Ritter

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

Stamps Scholars

“This trip was so valuable to the Ole Miss Stamps Scholars because we were able to appreciate such a tactile form of service through Youth Rebuilding New Orleans while team building within our own cohort.”

~Kathryn Prendergast

Stamps Scholars

This article was originally posted by Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. Here’s the link: http://yrno.com/ole-miss-stamps-scholars/

All photos taken by: Jack Styczynski