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City Year New Orleans: An Introduction (And Welcome to our Blog!)

September 1, 2011

Corps members and volunteers pose for a picture at our Hurricane Katrina Service Day.

By: Michael Cohn-Geltner, Service Team Leader

Whether we are cracking open textbooks or crushing concrete, City Year New Orleans corps members are here to serve the city that care forgot.

Every 26 seconds a student drops out and 51% of the dropouts come from a fraction of the public schools. City Year Corps members act as tutors and mentors to at-risk students. Corps members are older than the students but closer to their age than their parents and teachers. That near-peer relationship is what makes Corps members uniquely positioned to help keep at-risk students in school.

City Year teams are incredibly diverse. Some Corps members grew up in low income communities; others came from families of privilege. City Year New Orleans has had corps members that came from as far away as Thailand and as close as the Hollygrove community in New Orleans.

Each City Year team arrives early to greet the students before their breakfast and stays late to brainstorm events, devise tutoring sessions, and plan lessons with teachers.

In 2005 the planning steps were being taken to launch a City Year site in Louisiana, split between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina hit that year, and the site’s founding was accelerated due to the dire straits into which both cities were thrust. Corps members rebuilt houses for returning New Orleanians, and once back, City Year moved into the schools to tutor the returning children.

In July of 2011, City Year Louisiana split and became two separate entities, City Year Baton Rouge and City Year New Orleans. After operating successfully in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for nearly 6 years, we realized both sites were on solid enough footing to run independently of each another. And thus City Year New Orleans was born!

Our corps members serve in three different schools: Sarah T. Reed High School, Sarah T. Reed Elementary School, and Renew Accelerated High School at the City Park Campus.  Corps members also participate in many physical service days throughout the year, helping to beautify the communities we serve in.

So, welcome to our blog– we’re glad you’re here! We look forward to telling you about our service in schools and letting you know how we give a year and change the world in New Orleans.

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