Looking Back: New Orleans

Today’s post is by Steve Reiher, VP of Marketing at Operation Kids, and highly involved in the Operation Kids: Rebuilding Dreams in New Orleans campaign.

This week marks the 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As Hurricane Gustav now threatens the southeast coast again, I can’t help but look back at the lessons learned in the last three years. 

We are excited to announce that funding will be complete for the Operation Kids: Rebuilding Dreams in New Orleans campaign next month. So far, we have raised over $1.8 million. Not only that, but many projects have been completed during our 14-month involvement with Drew Brees and the city of New Orleans.

Through corporate donations and private support, the list of completed projects has provided a new daycare facility, new athletic and educational facilities, a new playground – and new hope:

  • Royal Castle Child Development Center-this Class-A childcare facility was rebuilt in a hard-hit area of New Orleans and can now serve up to 100 children.
  • New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School-much-needed facilities for outdoor sports, recreation and schooling have been created along with fully funded summer science internships for 25 students.
  • New Orleans Outreach-this extensive study assessed the impact of community involvement on student academic performance.
  • Pontchartrain Park-a historically important park to New Orleans, its athletic fields and community center are now rebuilt.
  • Samuel Green Charter School-funded construction of the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, an innovative educational concept where students in grades K-8 participate in gardening and cooking lessons that reinforce classroom coursework in core subjects.

Now that we’ve nearly completed fundraising, these projects will be finished soon:

  • Lusher Charter School-rebuilding athletic fields that will serve multiple schools and recreation associations.
  • New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School-funding advanced classes in arts and science.
  • Beacon of Hope-supporting and funding expansion of this highly effective community rebuilding organization.
  • Best Buddies-funding the reconstruction of high school chapters for this group that supports children with intellectual disabilities.
  • New Orleans Outreach-providing the means to hold after-school tutoring, arts and mentoring programs throughout New Orleans.

One of the campaign’s donors, and the first company to commit funds, is XanGo. I commend them for being the first in – the first major donor to see the vision of what can happen when programs and charities are held to a higher standard.

In their blog Wednesday, XanGo’s vice president of public relations, Bob Freeze, says:

“XanGo is proud to have partnered in this project that has helped meet the needs of so many children in New Orleans who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This initiative is a great example of what can be accomplished when corporations partner with credible charities to make a real difference in the lives of those in need.”

I couldn’t agree more.


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Filed under New Orleans, Project updates

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