In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bard students began a relationship with the Broadmoor community of New Orleans, in which hundreds of students over the course of the past ten years have traveled to NOLA. We now focus our energy in education and work closely with the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School located in Broadmoor, but have also helped with urban planning and data collection through the conduction of surveys post Katrina. For ten years, we have maintained close ties with this community.
The students at Wilson look forward to, and expect that Bard students will return to their classrooms every year. We provide, even for a short time, individualized attention for students in large, crowded classrooms. Reading comprehension is a struggle within the community the chance to work with a college student is an exciting opportunity for K-8th graders.
The Bard New Orleans Exchange participates in two trips to Broadmoor annually. Our January trip occurs during our winter intersession, and our volunteers spend their winter break working in a New Orleans classroom. Our winter program is three weeks long; this coming year it will occur from January 2nd through January 23rd. The exchange usually hosts between fourteen and sixteen Bard volunteers. We have been fortunate enough to spend our January in an Episcopal Church, the Church of the Annunciation, which is in walking distance of the school we work in.
Our project has a long history in New Orleans and just celebrated its 10th anniversary, as of August 2015. In the past year and a half that we have led the exchange, we’ve resurrected previously used housing options that have brought us closer to the Broadmoor community. In the summers we’ve successfully run two trips, implementing a home-stay program. The regularity of our program has helped allowed us also to build strong relationships with the families who host Bard students, and the overwhelming majority of these families have volunteered to host students again.
We hope that this project continues past our involvement as it has for a decade now. The relationship we’ve maintained through education has proven a valuable experience for all involved. We hope to maintain our engagement with the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School and the Broadmoor community at large. Starting this coming January, we will also be working with Bard students at Bard High School Early College New Orleans where we will be helping to facilitate a writing enrichment workshop. In the future, we would like this program promote a greater dialogue between Bard students in New York and New Orleans.
UPDATES FROM NEW ORLEANS EXCHANGE
Bard New Orleans Exchange was commended for their work by Mayor Mitch Landrieu on MLK day!