At Trinity Episcopal School, we strive to help students grow into good people and members of the community at large. This is why community service is a critical component of each of our students’ education.
As School Chaplain Reverend Bobby Hadzor stated in a recent schoolwide letter: “We steep ourselves in what it means to be a community and not individuals.”
In the greater New Orleans area, there are countless opportunities to provide community service to others. With one of the nation’s highest official poverty rates among the 50 largest metro areas, 19.7% of residents live in poverty, so the need for community service outreach is of the utmost importance.
However, when searching for community service opportunities it can be challenging to find local, kid-friendly options. Below are a few opportunities to help get your child involved with serving the community of New Orleans.
Community Service Ideas For NOLA Kids
1. Camp Restore
Formed in 2006 in response to Hurricane Katrina, Camp Restore partners throughout the greater New Orleans area to restore faith, home, and community. Camp Restore began as hurricane relief and has grown into an organization addressing large-scale systemic challenges, such as restoring wetlands that protect hurricanes, supporting local schools and youth programs, and helping new, innovative community nonprofits get off the ground.
The volunteer opportunities—for all ages—are limitless with Camp Restore, as they partner with more than 150 fellow nonprofits and churches. For well over a decade, more than 30,000 volunteers from all 50 states and Puerto Rico have helped in Camp Restore’s efforts.
With a unique, wide variety of service projects, there are multiple opportunities to teach your child the value of community service with Camp Restore. Program organizers have highlighted past projects into four categories including environmental, human care, grassroots, and construction.
A full list of those opportunities including a map with Camp Restore locations and volunteer FAQs can be found here.
2. Grow Dat Youth Farm
Grow Dat Youth Farm works to provide high quality youth leadership programming in supportive environments for youth while providing opportunities for youth to engage with diverse groups of people across the city of New Orleans.
They achieve this goal by growing healthy food for those in need. The work deeply impacts an issue of food insecurity across New Orleans as well, as the City of New Orleans reported 23% of residents—many youth and young adults—are food insecure.
Ultimately, Grow Dat Youth Farm works to collaboratively grow food, educate, and inspire youth and adults while building the power to create personal, social, and environmental change. There are plenty of community service opportunities, as kids can volunteer at the farm at age 10 and later develop their leadership skills through several advanced programs, such as the Food Justice Project, Crew Leader Fellowship, and Seed Project.
More information on volunteer opportunities, including an application form can be found here. Just be sure to arrive ten minutes early with good shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, water, snacks, and a hat.
3. NOLA Tree Project
Every child has a right to healthy food—this is the core foundation of NOLA Tree Project, as they work to grow stronger, healthier communities through tree planting, community service, and disaster relief programs. Volunteers are a key factor at NOLA Tree Project, as their efforts have helped plant over 51,000 trees throughout New Orleans.
This would be a valuable opportunity for kids later this school year when NOLA Tree Project resumes planting projects for the new season in November. NOLA Tree Project accepts small groups from schools, churches, and faith-based groups seeking service projects throughout the greater New Orleans area.
The #GreauxHealthyKids initiative specifically seeks to plant fruit orchards at 20 low income schools in New Orleans this year, but with a larger, more ambitious goal of planting orchards at 100 schools over the next five years, there are plenty of community service opportunities for kids and groups of all ages.
For more information about NOLA Tree Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Youth Rebuilding New Orleans
Youth Rebuilding New Orleans works to engage local youth in the betterment of the New Orleans community. With a kid friendly approach, there is no age limit required to volunteer, although proper supervision for younger children is required.
The rebuilding efforts are not only aimed at rebuilding neighborhood structures, but also at revitalizing the emotional and spiritual health of the residents themselves. With a vision to become the premier volunteering opportunity for youth ages 15-24, there are multiple opportunities for younger children to advance and grow while improving the New Orleans community.
It’s important to note that a $10 fee is required to volunteer with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (that money is used to cover costs of materials and tool inventory maintenance). A list of other FAQs and important information for volunteering at Youth Rebuilding New Orleans can be found here.
5. Second Harvest Food Bank
With a mission to help feed families across Louisiana, Second Harvest Food Bank provides food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response for over 700 community partners and programs across the state. The impact of their work cannot be overstated, as volunteers and staff distribute the equivalent of more than 32 million meals to more than 200,000 people a year.
Programs at the Second Harvest Food Bank include Mobile and School Pantries, Summer Feeding, and Kids Café, Senior Café, and the Backpack Program. A full list of these programs, including a public assistance helpline can be found here.
If you’re interested in teaching the value of community service to your child at an early age in order to develop skills to serve others as they progress through school, Second Harvest Food Bank can be an invaluable resource. There are age restrictions to volunteer, however, youth individuals or groups are encouraged to perform a Food and Fund Drive.
Following the drive, organizers are welcomed to schedule a time for a visit to Second Harvest to deliver their donations, and a member of the Volunteer Services team will be happy to give a tour of the warehouse. Tours are designed to help youth learn more about hunger and the work of Second Harvest Food Bank at large.
6. Other Opportunities
At Trinity Episcopal, there are several opportunities for each grade to get involved with community service throughout the school year. Examples of these projects include book drives and clothing collections. Individual grades often integrate service activities into their lessons and Seventh and Eighth Graders can even elect to participate in the Trinity Service Corps as their trimester elective.
Get Involved Today!
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for your children to get involved in the greater New Orleans area. From food drives to the remodeling of neighborhoods, there are several unique avenues to educate your child about community issues and needs surrounding local service work.
At Trinity Episcopal School our community life is supported by the Gospel message to ultimately “treat others as you wish to be treated.” Community service is rooted in this belief, as we are committed to fostering a school culture of kindness and cohesion within the School and community at large.
As School Chaplain Reverend Bobby Hadzor said, “Our Community is one of upstanders, working not only towards the building up of our school life, but also towards the building up of the communities we enter into after we leave School for the day. We challenge each other to be the best we can be and hold one another accountable for the things we do.”
So, how will your child get involved in one of the many New Orleans based community service opportunities?