Jason Miller Friday, Feb 19 2010 

Hello to everyone! My name is Jason Miller and I am a 3rd year Social Work student at Ryerson University. When I initially heard about this class and the whole NOLA experience I knew this was something I had to be a part of. When Hurricane Katrina hit I found myself frustrated with all the race and class conflicts that were taking place. At the same time I was hopeful that a revitalized and more prosperous place would emerge after the fact. Unfortunately what I was hoping for has yet to come but by being a part of this class and coming on the trip, I plan to learn and do as much as I can to assist the city and its residents to continue to take steps forward.  I am heavily anticipating this experience and I come well equipped to handle anything this trip may throw at me. I look forward to learning more about this city and experiencing all it has to offer with my fellow classmates. I would like to consider myself as pretty handy and helpful considering I have been a part of many landscaping projects in the past. Also due to being a part-time cook for 3 years at a nursing home I can promise I will be helpful around the kitchen. When I am not at school or working I spend my time restoring classic General Motors cars with my friends, which entails of salvaging through junkyards and looking across Canada looking for parts.

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Pushpa Wednesday, Feb 17 2010 

Hey, so my name is Pushpa, but everyone who knows me calls me SANDY! I am a second year student at Ryerson and I am very honoured to be one of the very few students who were given this opportunity.

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I very much enjoy working with people and growing up I always knew that Social Work was the right career path for me. When I first heard about the New Orleans opportunity I was very excited; I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but never came across an opportunity until now. Thank to Tanya and the others who made this possible.

Naomi Wednesday, Feb 17 2010 

I am third year nursing student at Ryerson University. I got into nursing because I wanted a profession that would yield more than a financial compensation; and with the risk of sounding like a cliché the part of nursing I enjoy is having the opportunity to make a difference in peoples life’s. My philosophy is as follows: life is full of good and bad experiences however if we never have bad experiences we wouldn’t know to appreciate the good one. Therefore always choose and life and live it like it’s a marathon and not sprint.

Stacy-Ann Williams Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

Hi my name is Stacy-Ann Williams.  I am taking courses at G. Raymond Continuing Education. Hopefully, I will make up my mind to what program I want to pursue a degree in.  The best thing about Community Development-International Perspectives is the New Orleans field experience and the unique perspective of the program.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans pre and post Katrina.  Before Katrina I had many friends who had never traveled out of their birth state because they were proud to be natives of Louisiana. They spoke about their city with pride, admiration and a sense of belonging.  After Katrina, many of the people I knew were singing a different song. They could not believe the “great America” could abandon their citizen.  The lack of support they received and the issues in coming months.  They moved to neighboring state and refused to return because of the lack of government support.  This course is a great opportunity for me because I get to be an active participant of change.  Even if it is just to help one family return back to the state of great jazz music, southern fried food that would make one gain 10 pounds in 2 days and people that know and are friends with their entire block. Yes, there are numerous other courses I could have taken that would be cheaper to the pocket, but this course is unique and the approach is entirely different from conventional learning.


I cannot wait for this experience to show the people of New Orleans that Canada cares.  I enjoy working with my hands and building things.  I can recall purchasing furniture and taking the entire day to fit it together.  The frustration of having extra pieces left over. 6hrs gone and the job are still half complete.  Having self-talk to why I enjoy torture.  All in all, the main reason I enjoy rebuilding is the rewards of accomplishing the task and bragging rights. I believe Community Development-International perspective will be like fitting furniture together. I know I will be an asset to the team because I enjoy helping people; in fact my full-time job is in the social service field.  I pride myself in making connection with people. I can pull from others things they don’t necessary want to make public.  Subsequently, it becomes emotionally draining when a connection is made.  I have learned I cannot change the world but I can take steps in changing myself and helping others to make the best choice for themselves.  My motto is  “teach me to accept the this I cannot change, change the things I can, and learn to understand the differences.”  I look forward in getting to know my classmates and having a wonderful trip.

Nichola Deslandes Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

Hello all!! My name is Nichola Deslandes (on the left). I’m currently in limbo at Ryerson University – in between my 3rd and 4th year in the Politics and Governance program. Words cannot even begin to express how fortunate I feel to be going to New Orleans to help some of the families there really begin to set up roots again by helping to rebuild their homes. I have always had a passion for humanitarian causes in the more local sense of the term. Having grown up in Malvern in Scarborough Ontario, I’ve always felt that there was so much could be accomplished at the grassroots level. I have participated in various community based organizations with different objectives through the years however I am most excited about by current involvement in the First Generation Project, a non-profit organization focused on working with youth in various communities marked as “priority neighbourhoods”. I have the privilege of serving as a mentor with youth from various cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds. I help provide them with advice and useful information to help them strive for and attain a higher education. I’ve learned so much grassroots organizations such as this. I believe that working directly with individuals – showing them that they aren’t forgotten – that they are cared about does so much for the spirit. And it is in this way that I would like to help in Ne Orleans. Show them that all the way over in Toronto Canada even 5 years after the devastation, they haven’t been forgotten.

Sarah Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

Hi all!

I’m Sarah (the blondie on the left) – I’m 22 years old, a Toronto native (I love my city J), and a third year nutrition student at Ryerson.  I transferred from Guelph over a year and a half ago from their arts and science program.  I knew that I wanted to do something with my life that was a little more science-y, but also where I could work with and help others.  With nutrition, I really feel like I’ve finally found my niche (after three years of having no idea what I wanted to do!).


One of the most memorable times of my life was when I took a year off after highschool, and spent that time earning some money to backpack around Europe for two months.  I definitely caught the travel bug after that, but haven’t really had the chance to travel since. I was so excited to hear about the opportunity to go to New Orleans.  It combines my passion for travelling and learning about different cultures, and my desire to help others.  I’m so happy and thankful for the opportunity, and am really looking forward to the experience!

Candice Walker Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

My name is Candice Walker and I am a third year student in the Collaborative George Brown College and Ryerson University Early Childhood Education Program. Which means that for the first two years of my degree program I was enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Program at George Brown College. And the courses that I took while in that program were pre-requisite courses for me to become a third year direct entry student at Ryerson University.


In my program in order to graduate it is mandatory for me to take a number of professionally related courses. So in the Fall of 2009 I was enrolled in the CINT 902 Homelessness in Canadian Society course. I really enjoyed taking that course because we not only talked about homelessness in Canada but we also talked about other countries such as the USA and their struggles with Homelessness.  Hurricane Katrina was one of the topics that was thoroughly lectured upon within this course.

When I found out that there was another professionally related course which focused on community development in New Orleans; by means of building houses for families who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. I new I had to be a part of it. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans. And now I get to go to New Orleans to do something that I enjoy doing on a regular basis. Which is support  young children, their families, and their communities in inclusive and supportive environments.

Chivon Musgrave Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

My name is Chivon Cecille Musgrave, I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario also known as Steel City.  I grew up in a family of seven which means I had no choice but to get along with people. My parents come from the native land of Dominica where I hope to retire to someday, sit in the sun and eat some good Caribbean food. As you can see, I don’t take life too seriously and I love to laugh. On a serious note, I graduated from Mohawk College as a Social Service Worker and I am currently attending Ryerson University working towards my Social Work Degree. Presently, I am employed with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board as educational assistant teaching children that have special needs.  Working with children is my passion because it makes me happy to know that I may have a positive influence on their lives.  Not only do I like children but I also have a deep LOVE for humanity. I am a strong believer that everything in life is about peace and love and I try my hardest everyday to reflect that in my character. This is precisely the reason that I have decided to be a part of this amazing experience to go to New Orleans. I feel that this experience will be the beginning of my journey of turning my dreams into reality.

Natural Disaster in which we have no control

Whipping out the levees, yet never our soul

They say no hope, that’s false and lies

Our hope is inside for it never dies

Evacuated and swiped us right out of town

You can take us out but never tear us down

Taking us off our feet left to swim and crawl

Countless times left to trip and fall

Crushed inside but yet still stand tall

Wiping out our homes

Left to live in domes

Hurricane Katrina as fierce as you are you can take our homes but you can’t take our souls

Taken away from our place of rest

Displacing the animals from there nest

Yet never able to put our faith to the test

They call you Katrina

Then call in Fema

Make the crisis even sadder

Stench exuding from human matter

You can take our bodies, our kids, our lives but you can’t stop where we go there after.

Natural disaster in which we have no control

Whipping out the levees, yet never our soul

They say no hope, that’s false and lies

Our hope is inside for it never dies

Natural Disaster in which we have no control

Didn’t you know New Orleans is the HOME OF SOUL?

Natalia Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

Hey, my name is Natalia and I am a 3rd year Social Work student. I initially got into Psychology because I have always wanted to help people; however I soon realized that I would be able to make more of an impact if I went into social work. Since I have no idea what area of social work I would like to go into, I am very open to new experiences. I love to travel, I have been to parts of Eastern Europe and Russia (I was born in Latvia and moved here when I was 11). My only glimpse at the United States so far has been Las Vegas. I love food, summer, music and going to concerts, learning new things, animals (I have 2 cats), movies, books, dancing, and going on adventures.


I have heard about New Orleans, and hurricane Katrina, but I had no idea how much more there is to the story.  I feel sad and angry about the whole ordeal and would really like to help out. Just last night I had a conversation with someone misinformed about the events surrounding hurricane Katrina. I and a friend tried to inform the person best as we could, but it just made me realize that there is not much awareness about what happened during and after Katrina. There are people in our society who do not know that homelessness exists, and that it is a huge crisis. I think raising awareness is an integral part of changing the world and the way people view homelessness, amongst other issues.

From hearing about the other students’ experiences of the trip, and how uplifting it turned out, I am very excited to go! I have been thinking about volunteering in a place like Mexico or Africa, but was not sure how to approach it. I think going to New Orleans will be a life-changing experience and will give me a sense of direction!

Abiola Agunbiade Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

I was born on July 23 1988. What I call home is located in Scarborough, Ontario. My background is of Nigerian decent, which both my parents’ nationalities originate from. I currently attend Ryerson University in my 2/3 year. My major is criminal justice and I dream would be to attend law school and become a criminal defense lawyer. I am involved with various organizations at school including the Trimentoring Program, The United Black Students Association at Ryerson and the law society. I love life. I enjoy playing and watching soccer, football and basketball. Fashion is a very important part of my life. I love to shop for everything that catches my eye. I also enjoy reading, eating, watching television and hanging out with my friends. It is important for me to challenge myself. I would love to grow into a mature, confident, independent woman who can honestly and proudly say is grateful for everything that this life has offered me. Travelling to New Orleans will be an amazing opportunity for me to venture out of my comfort zone and appreciate the finer things life has to offer

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