Bard Launch

Bard New Orleans Exchange

 

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Bard New Orleans Exchange

 

 

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 within the school (and the larger community of New Orleans) is very low and the chance to work with a college student is an exciting opportunity for k-8th graders. Community leaders and families also look forward to hosting us in their volunteer housing at a local church as well as in their homes when we participate in our summer home-stay program. In addition, during our stay we often participate in any given project that the neighborhood is working on at that time.

 

 

The Bard New Orleans Exchange participates in two trips to Broadmoor annually. Our January trip (the primary concern for this fundraiser) occurs during our winter intersession (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. All but one family decided to host a second student after we first brought this program back. In the winter, we've started living at the Church of the Annunciation again. When the project first started, the church was home to several volunteers in the area and hosted the first groups of Bard volunteers. We've begun living there again, and it is yet another part of the trip that has brought us close to the pastor and other community members in Broadmoor.


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 that our work at Wilson continues, our home-stay program within the community is kept alive, and that we can continue to be helpful to the Broadmoor community in any capacity. Starting this coming January, we will also be working closely with Bard students at Bard High School Early College New Orleans. This connection seems an obvious direction for the exchange. 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.


The funds we raise will primarily pay for our housing and food costs during our three week trip to New Orleans. Housing for fourteen volunteers is costly and we don't want to limit our volunteers based on their ability to pay for the trip. Our bi-annual presence in Broadmoor has been one of the more stable relationships in the area post-Katrina given the recent charter management turnover at Wilson and other strains that come with restoration.


Total Budget: $5,121.00

Housing/Weekday meals: $4,998.00, $17 a night per roughly 14 volunteers. This includes three meals a day on the weekdays Notebooks: $21.00, we provide journals to each student to catalogue their experiences and participate in weekly freewrites and discussions Pens: $2.00, 2 Weekend Community dinners: $100.00, we typically host two community dinners during the trip to facilitate discussion and thank our volunteers

Contact the project leaders for further information:

Kate Bickhardt, kb2085@bard.edu

Leigh Taylor, lt8156@bard.edu