NOLA Allies: Volunteering in New Orleans Part II

I think I can speak for the majority of us 20-somethings in New Orleans and state that we are selfish. We’re always thinking about what we look like, what breakfast cocktail we’re going to drink today, if whatshisname likes me. I think what most of us young adults are missing is the desire to help others, am I right? After all, WWJD?

While living in New Orleans poses a lot of ways in which one could indulge in their selfishness (I mean, have you seen the menu at Ye Olde College Inn? You’ll want to order all of it for yourself, and I do), this city also offers tons of volunteer opportunities. So take a moment away from your busy, young lives and indulge in your giving side with NOLA Allies: Volunteering in New Orleans. Part one can be found here.

Community/Family

Buddy Walk

BuddyWalk

The Buddy Walk is an annual family-friendly event dedicated to celebrating and enriching the lives of those with Down’s Syndrome. This event takes place on Saturday, October 25th at Zephyr Field from 11:00am-3:00pm. There will be live music, a jambalaya cook-off, games, crafts and more! I go to this event regularly in honor of my little bro who has Down syndrome, and I must say, it’s pretty freakin’ fantastic to witness all of the support, love, and, most importantly, inclusion. Plus they have Firefly and little Jack-o-lanterns full of candy. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find all of the info here. Use hashtag #NolaBW to stay in the loop with all of the festival happenings. “Step up for those with Down syndrome!”

Health

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

RacefortheCure

Race for the Cure is one hell of a powerful event, and the best part is that you can be a part of it. Each year, thousands of people gather in City Park sporting their pink attire to raise awareness and education for breast cancer. With one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer, this is an event that most everyone can connect to in some form or fashion. I attend every year, and each year grows to be more amazing than the last. Being able to witness survivors cross the finish line of the race brings tears to my eyes, as does witnessing families and friends celebrating the lives of those who lost their lives to this disease. Race for the Cure is constantly looking for volunteers, so get to crafting that pink tutu and lace up your sneakers for Saturday, October 25th at City Park beginning at 7am. You can also learn more about how you can support breast cancer awareness here.

Animals

Rescue Runners

Okay, so this is kind of like doggy speed dating, right? I mean, I guess it depends on how fast you can run, but you get the idea. This whole concept, created through the partnerships of the Jefferson SPCA and Synergistic Lifestyles, makes me squeal with excitement and actually makes me want to wake up early on a Wednesday morning to take a shelter pup for a jog around City Park. The best part is that all of these sweet pups are up for adoption, so if you and Fido have excellent running chemistry, you can take him home! I WONDER IF THEY HAVE PUGS. Interested in volunteering to take a dog on a run? Simply show up to City Park at 6:15am every Wednesday and all of that fun in the video above could be yours.

Community Service

Make it Right

MakeitRight

Make It Right builds homes and buildings for communities in need. Our homes meet the highest standards in green building; they are LEED Platinum certified and inspired by Cradle to Cradle thinking. We want to change the building industry to make energy-efficient, healthy homes affordable for everyone.

Make It Right began as an effort to rebuild safe, sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. Our work in New Orleans has led to innovations in affordable homebuilding – proof that high-quality, healthy homes can and should be available for everyone.

If you’re good with your hands (minds out of the gutters, please), then you’d probably be interested in helping out with Make It Right in the building of a home, building, or a playground for people in need. Make It Right assists communities in Newark, Kansas City, and New Orleans, and they are always accepting volunteers for upcoming projects. So instead of building bad credit, build a home with the people of Make It Right instead!

Youths

Girls on the Run

GirlsontheRun

Girls on the Run® is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Girls on the Run is a life-changing, non-profit program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grade. Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

If you have a passion for running (and we’re not talking to happy hour after work on Friday, but you can find that here) and empowering youth, then this would be an excellent volunteer opportunity for you. I have a friend who coaches for Girls on the Run, and she LOVES it. The girls meet twice weekly in teams of 8-15 and learn life skills through conversation-based activities, as well as running. At the end of the curriculum, the girls run a 5k. HOW CUTE. No, really, that’s cute.

Sometimes you don’t realize all of the incredible opportunities we have to give back to our community. I’m going to get real with all of you for a second and just stress how important community is and how imperative it is that we support and love one another. I challenge you to give back to your community! Visit the Buddy Walk or Race for the Cure, help build a home or spend a morning walking a dog, instill values and beliefs of “we can!” in young children and get fit while doing it! These examples of volunteer opportunities are just skimming the surface of what New Orleans has to offer.

So, yes, I challenge you. Make a difference in someone’s life… and reward yourself with that happy hour.

Have you participated in any of these events? Let us know which ones in the Comments Section!

About Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn currently lives in New Orleans and is thankful for that every morning upon waking. She has a Bachelor's degree in Film and Theatre that she proudly earned/bought from UNO. Apart from acting, Kaitlyn enjoys writing, pretending to be a yogi, and drinking multiple mimosas in one sitting.

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