I just got home from New Orleans. I love being there. I led a workshop to a group of kids about Perseverance and the Power of Community and I felt like I was IN THE LAND of Perseverance and Community. New Orleans’ folks own those words, don’t you think? They embody them. Live them. My time there was humbling, exhilarating, and oh so sweet!
The workshop was at the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center in Broadmoor, an area of New Orleans that was hit hard by Katrina. The Broadmoor Improvement Association and the residents of Broadmoor got together after the hurricane to write a redevelopment plan. In order to ensure bring the community back, create opportunity and create equity, they focused on education and recreation at the plan’s center. (See what I mean about perseverance and community?)
What they created — The Broadmoor Education Corridor — is spectacular. They’ve got four amazing cornerstones:
The four educational anchors are located within an eight-block area and their programs are designed to provide a holistic set of resources for education, recreation, culture, health and individual development over an entire lifetime. More than 250 people participate in the affordable program opportunities each day in the community including youth ballet classes, basketball, after-school tutoring, music lessons and cooking classes. Adults and seniors take advantage of fitness and nutrition classes, Spanish conversation circles, citizenship tutoring, counseling and parenting workshops.
The kids in the workshop were wonderful. Engaging, creative, clever, mischievous, and kind. I so enjoyed meeting them (and some of their parents too!) We had a lively conversation about what it takes to do the things you love — from writing to computer programming to singing to playing football — and then they made these gorgeous Magic Marbles* filled with their own words of inspiration. (Thank you Kirsten Cappy, for the great and perfect idea!
Thank you to the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center for such a wonderful experience!
*Another Kind of Hurricane has a magic marble at its center, which passes through the hands of many characters in the story. It is the thing that connects them all. These Magic Marbles are modeled after it: talismans of inspiration and connection; of what it takes to succeed at what you love to do; of the people who help and encourage and celebrate your success.