Eve Abrams

Community Impact

Community Impact


Nonprofits touch our lives every day, and the Community Impact series highlights their critical work and the difference they are making. Each week, New Orleans-based producer Eve Abrams brings you the stories of diverse groups working across southeast Louisiana. You’ll hear directly from leaders and staff on the frontline of important issues, from dedicated volunteers and from the people whose lives have been improved by these nonprofits.

Link: wwno.org


Us Helping Us: Formerly Incarcerated Men Assist One Another Through The First 72+

Jun 7, 2016 260


The First 72+ seeks to stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability. Imagine you've just spent years, maybe decades, incarcerated. You’ve paid your debt to society, and upon release, you're given a bus ticket and $10. But, that’s not $10 cash. It’s a $10 check that you can’t immediately cash because more than likely you don’t have a social security card, a state ID, a bank account, transportation, or family to help you out. Unfortunately, few re-entry services or programs are available to you, and they are especially limited in New Orleans, even though 15,000 people are released annually in Louisiana. I visit one of the handful of places that offers help. "Two guys sleep in here. Two guys sleep in there also. This is the utility room there. And, this is the kitchen," says Ben Smith, executive director at The First 72+ . The First 72+ is a re-entry program that provides transitional housing and other services for formerly incarcerated men in

Community Visions Unlimited Rebuilds Neighborhoods Through Art

May 10, 2016 208


Community Visions Unlimited seeks to rebuild neighborhoods through art, housing, and empowerment. If you drive around New Orleans, there’s a chance you may run across utility boxes on street corners and intersections. They are those tall grey things that just sit there. If you’re lucky, you might find one that’s painted with bright colors and a representation appropriate to the neighborhood you’re in. Like, Little Freddie King at Basin & St. Peter. Or, Oliver Morgan who sang the song Who Shot the LaLa. Community Visions Unlimited and local artists are responsible for beautifying utility boxes in several neighborhoods. They’ve reached a goal of painting 100 boxes throughout New Orleans. Across the river at the corner of West Bend & General DeGaulle, you find a box painted with scenes of a second line. Within a few blocks from the Westbank’s NOMTOC parade route, this box was painted by Charles Gillam, a resident of Algiers. Gillam is special to Algiers because he started his own

Cafe Reconcile Transforms The Lives Of Young Adults Through Reconciliation

May 3, 2016 264


Cafe Reconcile brings innovative life skills and job training to young people from severely at-risk communities. “ So the word of the day today is open-mindedness. What does it mean to have an open mind, and is it important to have an open mind?” asks Rachel Crump, a social worker at Cafe Reconcile. Over a dozen youth and adults gather before the work day for breakfast and their morning circle. Morning circle is where they share, pray, and give praise reports. This is also when they hear Word of the Day and discuss what it means to each of them. Today, it’s open-mindedness. “ If you’re a chef you gotta be open-minded to try different recipes,” says one participant. Cafe Reconcile is an 11-week job training program for youth 16-23 years old. It started in 2000 and over a thousand graduates have gone on to pursue careers in restaurants, hospitals, and other food services. But Cafe Reconcile does more than train people to work in food service. It addresses participants’ understanding of

Green Light New Orleans Makes A Large Impact Through Small Actions

Apr 26, 2016 209


Green Light New Orleans strives to operate as a model of energy efficiency and sustainability. I’m in the backyard of Ms. Mira Cosey’s home. She tells me what vegetables she’s been growing in her garden since Green Light New Orleans built one for her, free of charge. “ Tomatoes, collards, okra, turnips! Beets. And that’s my cucumber over there,” says Mira Cosey. “It wasn’t this tall when I was out here last week. See, all that nice rain.” Green Light New Orleans was started by musician Andreas Hoffman in 2006 to assist in the sustainable rebuilding of New Orleans. Green Light offers New Orleans residents tools that can save money on recurring costs and reduce their own carbon footprint. “ See, I’m from Woodville, Mississippi. My family had gardens, a small farm. So when they came out with the idea, I jumped for it,” says Cosey. Green Light New Orleans’ volunteers have installed free energy efficient light bulbs to over 26,000 homes, backyard vegetable gardens, and rain barrels. Andreas

Community Impact: A Clinic That Plays To Musicians' Health Needs

Apr 19, 2016 214


Community Impact is WWNO's series on nonprofit organizations in the New Orleans region, a partnership between WWNO and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. In this edition Jasmin Lopez visits the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic.

Women Who Were Sex Trafficked Find Strength And Reclaim Their Lives At Eden House

Apr 12, 2016 300


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 12-14. Eden House is a two-year residential program for women who have been commercially and sexually exploited. Modeled after Magdalene House in Nashville, Tennessee, Eden House provides six to eight women a safe and supportive home for two years, free of cost.

Neighborhood Housing Services Of New Orleans Helps The Aging Stay In Their Homes

Dec 8, 2015 245


Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans , Inc. revitalizes communities by increasing the number of homeowners and transforming vacant or substandard properties into sustainable homeownership. They improve quality of life through informed community development initiatives, leadership development, education, outreach and collaboration.

NewCorp Acts As A Catalyst For Wealth For Disadvantaged Communities

Dec 1, 2015 204


NewCorp has served as convener of the Mardi Gras Indian nations including the Yellow Pocahontas, Mohawk Hunters, Washitaw Nation, Apache Nation, Naypayshni Cherokee Warriors, Fiyiyi, Indians of the Nation, Hard Head Hunters and Golden Camanche. These groups have formed the Black Mardi Gras Indian Cooperative.

VA Trains Employees With Skills Needed To Advance Their Careers

Nov 24, 2015 225


The Hudson Thomas Program is a workforce training program of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System aimed at increasing the fundamental skills needed to advance the careers of incumbent employees. The program focuses on competencies in reading, writing and computer literacy, as well as soft skills and career coaching. The goal of this program is to increase the number of entry-level workers eligible to apply for mid level positions within the growing VA system.

Louisiana Appleseed Makes Getting A Clear Property Title Easier

Nov 17, 2015 197


Louisiana Appleseed recruits professionals to donate pro bono time to solve problems at their root cause. Their goal is to advance social justice by creating change at a systemic level. Louisiana Appleseed’s projects seek to increase access to education, opportunity and justice. “Hey did you want to talk for a second?” asks Christy Kane from behind a table at Dillard University’s Housing Fair. “We’re here to talk about clear title today, and why it’s important if you own a home to have the paperwork in your name,” Kane explains to Kim Ford, who’s standing on the other side of the table. Kane asks Ms. Ford if she owns a home or is planning to at some point. And she does, but… “My husband purchased the property in his name alone because he had a better credit score,” explains Ford. “So we wanted to become homeowners, and that was the only way we could do it if we left my name off. But guess what? He has a child from a previous relationship.” Even though Ford’s name is not on the title,

KIPP Supports Its Graduates All The Way Through College

Nov 10, 2015 265


New Orleans has ten KIPP schools serving grades Kindergarten through 12 th . . KIPP New Orleans also has a program called KIPP Through College , which supports KIPP middle school and high school alumni on their path to and through college.

Grace House Helps Women Rebuild Their Lives

Oct 27, 2015 235


Grace House provides gender specific treatment to women who have become dependent on alcohol or drugs so that they may lead sober and productive lives.

The New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center Works To Eradicate Housing Discrimination

Oct 20, 2015 243


The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center was established in 1995 to eradicate housing discrimination in the Greater New Orleans area through education, investigation and enforcement. The Center is dedicated to fighting housing discrimination not only because it is illegal, but also because it is a divisive force that perpetuates poverty, segregation, ignorance, fear and hatred.

Family Justice Center Takes Clients From Crisis To Confidence

Oct 13, 2015 189


The New Orleans Family Justice Center Alliance is a partnership of agencies dedicating to ending family violence, child abuse, sexual assault and stalking by providing comprehensive client-centered empowerment services in a single location.

Liberty's Kitchen Supports Young People On A Path To Employment

Oct 6, 2015 209


The Youth Development Program at Liberty’s Kitchen provides participants with occupational and employability skills training, and addresses the social issues that have created barriers to employment. The objective of the Youth Development Program is to graduate students with a sense of purpose, tools and opportunities needed to thrive in gainful employment.

'Stand For Children' Educates Parents About The Orleans Parish School Board

Sep 27, 2015 218


Stand For Children educates and organizes parents, teachers and communities to demand excellent schools. Up a flight of stairs in an airy meeting room overlooking Saint Claude Avenue, Dana Henry is getting ready for a gathering — the Orleans Parish parent endorsement committee training. It’s a get-together for parents to learn more about the Orleans Parish School Board: what it does, and who parents should back to be on it. “ Stand for Children is really the only organization in the city that focuses strictly on organizing parents to support good policies in public education,” says Dana Henry, the New Orleans Director for Stand for Children. “The parents in our organization are really the backbone.” This national non-profit helps New Orleans parents become better education advocates in all sorts of ways: how to have a productive conversation in parent teacher conferences, or what to do when a really challenging homework assignment gets slapped onto the kitchen table after a long day of

Gert Town Community Development Center Gives Seniors An Extended Community

Sep 22, 2015 246


For 14 years, Gert Town Community Development Center has been instrumental in helping to enhance the total quality of life for residents in the Gert Town and surrounding community. They’ve advocated on behalf of issues of illegal dumping, education, blight and the return of recreational opportunities for youth and seniors.

Louisiana Center For Children's Rights Defends Clients With A Holistic Team

Jun 23, 2015 277


The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights defends the right of every Louisiana child to fairness, dignity and opportunity. Their holistic defense helps young people achieve their legal and life goals. Ariel Test is an attorney for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. Her and her team defends the vast majority of kids arrested in Orleans Parish.

Friends Of Lafitte Corridor Group Promotes The Greenway As A Great Public Space

Jun 16, 2015 220


Friends of Lafitte Corridor seeks to revitalize the Lafitte Corridor by working to build, program and promote the Lafitte Greenway as a great public space. “I brought my family along with me: my husband, my granddaughters. We come to have a good time,” says Ariska Everette , who’s sitting on a folding chair in front of a giant movie screen on the Lafitte Greenway. There’s a tub of popcorn in her lap. She’s waiting for the film Annie to start, but she says just being outside, in this space, feels great. “Like we transformed the whole thing. It’s usually just kids running around, now it’s a whole movie theater — families sitting down. I love it.” Adults, obviously, are not the only ones excited to see the new Annie . Lance is 15 years old, and he stays right next to the greenway , in Lafitte . He says seeing a movie outside like this is different. “You get to be with everybody around your house,” says Lance. “You get to be around with your friends and other people you don’t know and you

VIA LINK Starts New Texting Program For People In Crisis

Jun 2, 2015 244


VIA LINK provides information, referrals, training and crisis intervention to people, organizations and communities so they can help themselves and others. The VIA LINK call center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to listen, answer questions and provide resources to people who call 211 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If a caller is in crisis, the confidential counselor who answers will start helping them on the spot. Lavondra Dobbs, CEO for VIA LINK, says the counselor will begin assessing the caller’s needs, “listening to their story, seeing how they can best help them prioritize their needs to be addressed and provide some information and resources for them.” VIA LINK is housed in New Orleans, but answers 211 calls for 10 Louisiana parishes. VIA LINK also answers about half of Louisiana’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline calls. In total, that’s about 60,000 calls each year. “VIA LINK actually started as a grassroots organization,” says Dobbs. “A group of