Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: April 19-26, 2016
Theme: Young leaders Working together to Build Healthy Lives
Description: Students volunteered in numerous projects in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, including preparing hot meals at the Food Pantry, cleaning up trash and weeding/planting gardens, maintaining a horse ranch which is used as a therapeutic space for young people, and fixing up the house of an impactful member of the community, Pastor Jack, who opens his home to survivors of abuse. The students connected to Pastor Jack as a role model and mentor who truly cares about his community. He encouraged them to continue with their education and to strive to make a difference.
Both the history and current conditions of race relations, along with significant differences in class, opportunity, privilege and resources between different areas of New Orleans, had a major impact on the team. By interacting with these community leaders, they gained a more nuanced understanding of the disparities between different communities based on race and class. Bringing their new understanding home, Team New Orleans deepened their experience by sharing their new knowledge and reflections with the Dearborn upper school, initiating a mentorship program for sixth graders, and volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank.