Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fasten Your Seatbelts...The Village is TAKING OFF!

Angie reports that volunteers are beginning to put up interior walls according to the architectural plans. Amazing. Mack and Dar are very excited. Mack says that the Village is really starting to look like a great new part of the Community. He sounds like a proud Papa! Mack is heading up to New York to put up a display at a conference about non-profit service projects. This is a great opportunity to spread awareness. There are many many possibilities for great things to happen from this trip. This opportunity arose like a miracle out of contacts that are coming in every day to the Village. If you are anything like me, you are just amazed that it happened and can't wait to hear more about it.

Some students at the University of Tennessee held a concert featuring musicians from New Orleans and raised $750. The check is on the way. Isn't it wonderful how the students are making such a huge contribution to the entire recovery effort?

There is an expectation that this summer will see a large influx of returning residents. Conditions within the Lower 9th have reached a point that families will return in May and June when their children have completed school. They will need a lot of assistance to get reestablished for the start of school in September. To prepare for this, Acorn, Common Ground, Katrina Corps, Rebuilding Together and other volunteer organizations are meeting together with Mack to coordinate their efforts. Much of this effort will be centered at the Village. Additionally, there will be a need for programs for the children.

Teresa’s mission group will be at the Village from May 31 to June 7. Her group has raised $6700 for the Village. All of this money will be used at the Village. They are each paying their own travel expenses. They plan on holding children’s bible study in the mornings and a program for the elderly. They are intending on concentrating on completing the art room. This will help meet one of the needs for children’s programs for the summer. They are also planning on a community barbecue at the end of their trip. The largest part of the fundraising came from a Bingo with Longenberger baskets as the prizes. The church has a policy that they will not support games of chance so getting support for this fundraiser was quite an accomplishment. Teresa bought the baskets with her own money and had the congregation sponsor basket purchases later. She says that this type of fundraiser is very possible in other areas as well. Six years ago, Teresa started a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This mission trip has become an annual event. It is possible that the trip to the Lower 9th may become an annual event also. The number of team members has increased from 9 to 12. This includes one member who told Teresa that he is in awe of her leadership. I am also in awe at this accomplishment. If there ever was to be an example of what leadership is all about, this would be perfect. She has used every leadership technique that we were taught in creating an incredible result. Please acknowledge this accomplishment. Well done, Teresa!

Mission trips not only bring much needed immediate help, they also ripple out to others as the mission participants bring the message of need to others. Earlier this year, Tami White, a teacher in California came to New Orleans on a mission trip with her 13 year old son. She was shocked to see the devastation that still existed nearly 3 years after the flood. She is leading a drive for her students to obtain backpacks with school supplies for the fall for students living in the Lower 9th.

(Thanks go to John R for his reporting!)

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