Introducing Chris Tuesday, Jul 28 2009 

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Hi everyone I’m Chris Charlton and well I guess it’s always better late than never right. I was supposed to do this introduction prior to the New Orleans experience, but I just never got around to it until now. I’m a 3rd year Social Work student at Ryerson University and at first when I heard about the opportunity to go to New Orleans to help rebuild I was very intrigued. I had always wanted to volunteer with the habitat for humanity, so this fell right in line, plus I got to go on vacation!!

Fast forward to my return from New Orleans, and I can honestly say, I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this experience. The joy that you get from knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life is priceless. Our whole class really put in a lot of work and we had fun doing. I would go back in a second, there is so much more that needs to be done in New Orleans and I know a lot of people are unaware of this.

I would like to thank Tanya for taking the chance to put this class together and choosing me as one of the students to participate

Joy and Austin Friday, Jul 24 2009 

Another group staying in the Volunteer House encountered Joy and Austin this week. They dropped by our first night – in the midst of supper prep – to tell the students their story.

“Where ya’ll from?” came the voice from across the street, when we got out of the car back at Volunteer house, hot, smelly, and ready for a shower.
“Baltimore,” someone piped-up.
“Are ya’ll a church group or with a business or what?”
“A church.”
“Oh, well, thank ya’ll for comin’. We couldn’t do this without you. We’ve gotten this far because of people like you.”

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Ottawa Sun article on Bluesfest and St. Bernard Project Sunday, Jul 19 2009 

We made the Ottawa Sun!

New Orleans looks for some help at Bluesfest

A reporter came by the tent yesterday looking for Zack. We got to chatting while we were waiting and eventually he started taking notes. I think the story of 23 students raising money and paying tuition to go volunteer was inspirational.

Toronto2NOLA goes to Ottawa4NOLA Saturday, Jul 18 2009 

I’m in Ottawa this weekend to attend Bluesfest. The United Way here is working in conjunction with the St. Bernard Project to get the word out about their 4NOLA campaign. Kealey is coming tomorrow night to work too and I dragged a friend along as well. The three of us are listed as special “informational” volunteers in the volunteer info 🙂

From 2007….still so much the same Wednesday, Jul 15 2009 

Gentilly Neighbourhood. Sunday, Jul 12 2009 

Among the city’s devastated neighborhoods, Gentilly was something of an orphan after the storm. The Lower 9th Ward, with its manifest hardships, proved a magnet for volunteer groups. Lakeview and Broadmoor were meanwhile buoyed by robust and highly organized neighborhood associations.

But momentum has gathered in recent months in Gentilly, a sprawling, diverse area that in many ways is a microcosm of the city itself. The post office and 3rd District police headquarters have returned, and construction is nearly complete on two major high schools. The high-profile public investments have begun to kindle the return of private business as well.

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2NOLA 4NOLA Friday, Jul 3 2009 

Watch this space for updates on our participation in St. Bernard Project’s 4NOLA campaign. We will be officially launching our fundraiser on August 29th 2009, 4 years after the hurricane. 4 NOLA is a campaign to have 100 fundraisers between Aug 29th 2009 and Aug 29th 2010.

Toronto2NOLA’s goal is to raise $15000 US to purchase supplies needed to build a house. We will be holding several fundraisers and events over the next year. In the meantime, start saving your American coins; spare US change for us!

It ain’t recovery til everyone can come home Wednesday, Jul 1 2009 

Four years after Katrina‚ population shifts in New Orleans neighborhoods are being driven by large–scale redevelopment projects as well as by disaster recovery‚ according to a new study from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC). The GNOCDC used media/marketing company Valassis’ comprehensive mailing list database to compare active–address households in June 2005‚ June 2008 and June 2009 across New Orleans neighborhoods.

Recovery Numbers in GNO

1.5 months later… Wednesday, Jul 1 2009 

So, it’s been about a month and a half since we have been back now and all I can think about is when can I go back, and how can I get back there without stepping foot on a plane!?
I had severe anxieties throughout all of my plane rides and even though I took Dramamine to help take a bit of the edge off, it usually kicked in about 1-2 hours after I got off of the plane. Not very effective at all.
We went through a huge thunder storm on the last flight to buffalo and it was the scariest thing I have ever had to endure. In the end after a few tears shed, the lovely flight attendant gave me a set of continental wings for surviving the plane ride. Yes, these are the wings that get handed out to the little kids on the plane!
Anyway, I’ll definitely go back to volunteer again, but this time I might have to take something stronger for the flight, or start walking now!
My thoughts these days are still filled with New Orleans. Everything I see or think of, I usually can related it to something that has to do with NOLA. It’s amazing how one place can have such a lasting impact on someone. This was a trip that was completely out of my comfort zone, but I am glad that I did it because it has opened my eyes to many opportunities for the future!
So, hats off to Tanya! 🙂
-Stephanie
P.s. the DVD is looking great so far. I can hardly wait to see the final product!

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