Today, our third and final work day of our service project, was by far my favorite. Today we traveled down to the area around Treme, or the birthplace of Jazz, and helped to revitalize a community garden. The owner of this garden was Gloria, a vibrant 70-year old woman, whose love for the people and the city of New Orleans is evident through her work. She has created this garden as a sort of oasis in the otherwise rather grim space under the overpass. Not only is the garden an area to stop and appreciate the beauty of the growth, Gloria has embodied the idea of the Power Of Giving with her plan for the children who come to the garden. Her hope is that the children in the community will continue to come to the garden where she will teach them valuable skills such as crafting and carpentry that can be used to help them enter into the world of entrepreneurship. The children can take what they have learned from the class and make their own goods that can then be sold to the community. From just one day of knowing Gloria, her love and optimism already made a lasting impression on me. Gloria told us that she had visited friends in New Orleans for one weekend 8 years ago, and after her trip, she packed up and moved down a week later. I have no doubt that Gloria loves her city and will continue to work to better her community and embody the idea of the Power Of Giving.
When I mentioned before that today was my favorite project, it was not because I liked it better or liked the people better but because I could see, after just one day, the noticeable change that we had made. Ryan, however, told us at dinner last night that despite the fact that we may not have been able to see the impact we made at KIPP: St. Claude, the work we did will help to benefit the teachers and especially the children that attend the school. This helped me to understand that sometimes you can’t see very clearly that you have made a change in someone’s life, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from helping out because it could really benefit people in the long run. Or even if it is a small impact that you have made, you still helped someone, or something, and that is what matters.
- Naomi Simon