Mon - Fri
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Student Activities Center
The Alternative Winter Break Volunteer program was a new opportunity for students to engage in community-based service projects during the University’s designated Winter Break to develop an understanding and appreciation of the issues people across the world encounter daily. Students return from the experience with a deeper understanding of volunteerism, community service and activism to help create change!
On December 12-18, 2010, Thirteen (13) Clayton State University students traveled to New Orleans, LA to volunteer with Rebuilding Together-New Orleans. (www.rtno.org).
Alternative Winter Break Participants (L to R): Venus Royster; Emmanuel Shephard; Tatiana Gooden; Connesha Jones; Catherine Hutchins; Jasmine Fuller; Jasmine Blalock; Dr. Sam Maddox (faculty); Micah Evans; Lonnie Richards; Dwayne Anglin; Whitney Smith; Dawanna Cuyler; Kisha Barnes; Jennifer Welch (staff).
Rebuilding Together - New Orleans (RTNO) was started in 1988 when the Preservation Resource Center instituted a one-day neighborhood revitalization pilot program in the Lower Garden District. Modeled after the national Christmas in April program, it was implemented to address the needs of existing homeowners, namely the elderly and disabled who had become ill equipped to manage home repair.
After Hurricane Katrina, RTNO modified its mission to aid those displaced by the storm. Instead of only smaller projects, RTNO began to focus on the total renovation and rebuilding of storm-damaged homes. By reinvesting in and restoring the existing housing stock of the city, RTNO was able to bring homeowners back to their homes, as well as provide a model for restoring and preserving New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods.
Each year thousands of volunteers from around the country are welcomed come to help rebuild New Orleans. Volunteers work under the supervision of skilled RTNO construction staff consisting of both skilled and unskilled tasks such as painting, flooring, sheet- rocking, plumbing and landscaping. Through this project, students will assist RTNO to improve the quality of life of low income homeowners.
(left) Mr. Thomas' home before our students began work. (Right) Students painting and making renovation to the exterior of the home.
While in New Orleans, all 13 students along with Dr. Samuel Maddox of the Psychology Department and Jennifer Welch, AmeriCorps Coordinator worked on the home of Mr. Tom Thomas in the Gentilly neighborhood.
Working primarily as a longshoreman, for over 60 years, Mr. Thomas and his family took great pride in the fact that their sub-division of Pontchartrain Park was the first African American Sub-division in the entire country. He also took great pride in his incredible vegetable garden, whose bounty he shared with all of his neighbors. His broccoli, cauliflower, and rhubarb were particular favorites in the neighborhood.
During Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Thomas took shelter with his sister in Baton Rouge, where he is still living. His home, along with all his neighbors, was completely submerged in water. They lost everything in their home, and had no insurance. Then, tragically, Mr. Thomas was the victim of identity theft, resulting in all of his FEMA money being paid to the wrong person and made him ineligible to receive Road Home assistance either.
In 4 days, the CSU team completely painted and renovated the exterior of Mr. Thomas’s home.
In addition to volunteering, our students had an opportunity to experience the history and the culture the city of New Orleans! They visited the famous Preservation Hall for live jazz, the Conti Musee Historical Wax Museum, visited Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, spoke with local residents in the Lower 4th Ward District and of course sampled the best of New Orleans food.
To view additional pictures from last year's week of service learning and fun, please click here.
For questions or additional information about our service learning and alternative break trips, please contact the Department of Campus Life at (678) 466-5433.