Hello present and future readers,

My name is Isabelle Russell from Stratford, living in Toronto for the past three years. I am in my third year of Arts and Contemporary Studies at Ryerson. I am currently majoring in culture studies, and minoring in non-profit and voluntary sector management. However, I have been contemplating switching my major as I look further and further into teachers college. Teacher’s college, one of the many ideas I have thought of for “my future” but realistically am just as unsure as probably most of you. But for now I will focus on the present which is my third year and New Orleans experience.

I guess you could say that I first became interested in travelling to New Orleans in my final year of high school, long story short the plan unfortunately crumbled. While I was crushed for quite some time I did have the amazing opportunity to travel to Costa Rica where we had the privilege of working with an elementary school. We did everything from cleaning up the school yard to working with the students on their studies. An opportunity that I will never forget, and was a major influence on my interest and desire for becoming more involved with social change. This also geared me towards a course that I am taking this semester called Homlessness in Canadian Society. Something that is somewhat taking me out of my comfort zone but I am convinced that it will be an experience in itself that will educate me on not just Toronto, but also what I can take to New Orleans. I have a lot to learn still but I look forward to becoming more educated, aware and allow myself to become part of this and commit fully. And hopefully I will become more of an asset to the change I will be in New Orleans.

Just last year I became a VAST volunteer which required me to go into a classroom at Nelson Mandela Park Public in the regent park area. Needless to say it was a huge challenge but one that definitely paid off as I learned about an entire new neighbourhood of Toronto and an amazing group of kids. This experience taught me more about myself then I thought possible. So I guess you could say that I am eager to try new things especially with new people.

I realize I have much to learn about what this experience entails, but this excites me as it looks like we have a great group of people working together. I look forward to getting to know you all and travelling with everyone.

-Isabelle

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