Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November in NOLA

November has flown by and was cut short by our thanksgiving break. I never thought I would need to wear a jacket in NOLA but this city never ceases to surprise me. I had less time this month due to our break. I went home to California for some much needed quality time with my friends and family. Before I left, I worked with both Sci High and Kipp with no scheduling conflicts. While working with Sci High I was able to work with a new class because of the flexibility of our class schedule during our pulmonary block. In addition to Mrs. Childress's senior class, I had the pleasure of working with her sophomore class. I was assigned to work with the students that were behind and required more individual attention. The students were working on research reports on either plants or animals that were indigenous to Louisiana. Then they needed to partner up with a classmate and explain their research to their partner. Once they're done the students would switch positions and repeat the process. While working with the senior class it was business as usual. The students have really warmed up to me and are less hesitant to ask me for help.  My work with Kipp has been extremely unpredictable and rewarding because I know that this work is helping the school focus on more important goals rather than time-consuming work. This month I was instructed to create new files for the students in each grade. Also, I was responsible for sifting through mixed piles of doctor’s notes, sick notes, and other paperwork that needed to be filed. It was an uphill battle at first but the mounds came crumbling down every week due to great teamwork. The semester is coming to an end soon and this will be my last entry. It’s been a pleasure to be so heavily involved within this community and I am excited to continue this work into next semester as well.

Hours: 7

Total Hours: 30

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shocktober Is Over

The month of October has passed by in the blink of an eye. The more time I spend in New Orleans the more attached I become. The city's passion is just infectious and drives me to explore more of the city. I have never seen so many people from so many different age groups be so invested in their Halloween costumes. I had the pleasure of being scared beyond belief in a couple of the city's famous haunted houses. We have recently finished the Autonomic Nervous System, Cardiovascular, and Renal blocks this month. These past couple of blocks were the most interesting to learn about so far. This past month I have continued my work with Kipp. I assisted in photocopying the different books for the elementary school. I decided to change up my weekly tasks and learned how to put bindings into the photocopied textbooks. In addition, the school has received quite a few shipments of books, which my peers and I organized in one of the storage rooms. In respect to my work with Sci High, the students had a fall break, which was a break I was never offered when I was a younger. So due to scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to volunteer as much as I wanted to this month. When I was able to go, I continued to help out with the third period class. I walked around assisting the students with their classwork, passing out work, collecting work, and any other task Mrs. Childress needed help with. All in all, I still can't believe my time in New Orleans is flying by so quickly but it has been a total blast.

Monthly Hours: 8 hours

Total: 23 hours

Friday, September 30, 2016

This month I started volunteering at Sci High as a teacher's aid for the environmental science class. I assisted with Mrs. Childress's sophomore and senior class. The senior class was a little more energetic because it's their last year of school which required more effort to keep them focused. I assisted the students that struggled with their in-class assignments and monitored for any horseplay so that Mrs. Childress didn't need to stop her lecture as often. The sophomore class was a smaller class and these kids were bright but needed more time to process the information. All of them were shy but were very receptive when I offered assistance. One of the kids in particular was very passionate about learning about "environmental succession" and every time he heard about a forest fire or volcanic eruption, he would get upset hearing about the welfare of the plants and animals within that environment. It was great to see such emotion and interest from a high school student. In addition to working at Sci High, I was still working at Kipp elementary/middle school as well. During my first couple of visits, I was responsible for organizing the different uniforms in the middle school's stock room. We separated the shirts based on color and then further separated the shirts based on their sizes. There were a ton of boxes to sort through. The other volunteers and I formed an assembly line to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Aside from organizing the office closet, I made copies of different books that the teachers would use during class. Although the work at Kipp seemed remedial, I know that this was a huge time saver for the teachers and will allow them to allocate more time towards other important tasks.

September Hours: 9 hours

Total hours: 15 hours

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The unfortunate floods of Louisiana and the youthful future of New Orleans.

After hearing about the floods that struck major areas throughout Louisiana, I immediately looked for an opportunity to become apart of a relief effort. I really wanted to do something hands-on. A classmate told me about an opportunity in Lafayette, which was exactly what I was looking for, demolition assistance. We drove to the neighborhood our group leader directed us to and met the owner of the house we were instructed to work on. She explained how fast the water swept through the neighborhood. I am about 6'3 and the water was up to my chest based off of her description. When I walked into the house I saw how high the water was because the walls were gutted up to that height. I started moving big pieces of furniture outside with the help of other team members. I moved a cabinet, bedroom dresser, patio chairs, patio table, and a patio futon into the growing pile of damaged items that once held memories of their household. Once I was done moving the big furniture out, I began assisting with nail removal from the wooden beams that were exposed. After I had cleared all of the nails, I began removing small wooden planks that were nailed to the floor. After about four hours of demolition work, my classmate and I were exhausted so we called it. All of my clothes were soaked in sweat and as we walked back to our car we just saw these gigantic piles of furniture, trash, other household items that were stacked so high you could only see the roof of the house behind it. This specific neighborhood wasn't in a flood zone so none of the owners had any flood insurance. It was very disheartening to hear about the floods but it was extremely humbling to see the devastating aftermath in person. All in all, I was grateful to be able to lend a hand to this family and to have hopefully made their rebuilding process become a little smoother. Here is a picture of my classmate and I after we had finished with our demolition service.

In addition to demolition service I continued working at KIPP. I spent approximately two hours helping the middle school office organize their t-shirts as instructed by one of the faculty members. We split up the responsibilities by assigning a specific color to each volunteer. I was in charge of the red t-shirts and began organizing my the shirts according to size and folding all of the shirts in a spatially efficient manner to minimize the storage space we used. We received an unexpected surprise when some of the faculty gave us popsicles. I was able to snag my favorite flavor, grape. Volunteering these past couple of months have made me feel a stronger connection to the city of New Orleans. It has made the overall transition from California a lot easier.

Volunteer hours total: 6 hours